Following the news that Pamela Wallin has resigned from the Conservative caucus, Andrew Coyne takes a hard look at the Mike Duffy fiasco:
So Duffy’s behaviour is not the issue. The issue is the culture that enabled it. The Tories may find it expedient to disown him now, but it wasn’t five minutes ago they were cheering him to the rafters, inviting him to campaign in their ridings and defending him in public, long after his misconduct was known. Expelling him from caucus at this late date changes nothing. The time to discipline him was when when he was first caught out, not after every alternative had been exhausted. Indeed, he should never have been appointed, if for no other reason than that he was legally ineligible: to be the senator from PEI, you have to be from PEI.
The Harperites went to great lengths to protect Duffy. They offered Patrick Brazeau no such protection. The question -- the elephant in the room -- is Why?
The revelations of recent days suggest one reason: because of the sorts of things the auditors were likely to uncover, had they been allowed to do their work. And, perhaps, because of the many other rocks that might be overturned as a result: for example, Duffy’s alleged lobbying on behalf of Sun News. (Who was the “Conservative insider with connections to the CRTC” Duffy is reported to have approached? What could possibly have led him to believe his efforts to influence a quasi-judicial tribunal would be fruitful? Did he do this entirely on his own? Unprompted? Unpaid?)
Duffy was a Conservative Party operative on the public payroll. He wasn't the first. And the problem certainly extends to senators from other parties. But this party -- this government -- came to office railing against the corruption in the House of Sober Second Thought and in government in general. Rather than insisting on accountability, the Harperites have hopped on the bandwagon. Michael Harris reminded us of the numbers last week: "By October 2015, 62 per cent of the 105-member Senate will have been appointed by Stephen Harper."
And Harris simply stated the obvious this week. Mike Duffy may be gone. But Stephen Harper is the one who should be roasted. It is he who drives the current culture of entitlement.