The Harper/Senate scandal is fast becoming a tragic-comedy. In many Western democracies, this Prime Minister would have already been forced to resign. Practically every mainstream media commentator (even the rightwing ones) now seem convinced that Harper probably knew practically everything about this conspiracy of bribery and cover-up. The emails from Nigel Wright that say "I want to talk to the PM before everything is considered final," and the next one written an hour later saying "we are good to go from the PM," establish pretty clearly that Harper played an active part in bribing a sitting Senator. (This is the second time that it has been demonstrated that Harper is involved in bribery - recall the Cadman affair) And, as it usually is, the cover-up is as bad or worse than the initial wrong-doing. It is pretty clear that the Prime Minister was part of an orchestrated cover-up in the Senate, a cover-up that involves altering a financial audit.
As politicians go, it doesn't get much worse than this folks. The only thing comparable in Canadian history is the so-called Pacific Scandal.
One of the things that strikes me as curious about this scandal is this - though it is clear now that the Prime Minister lied to the House and all of Canada, even without his confession of direct knowledge of the details of the bribe and cover-up, his best-case scenario is that he instructed his top aides not to inform him of any illegal details. In other words, the Prime Minister oversaw the orchestration of profound malfeasance even if he didn't know the details. The Disaffected Liberal nicely compared this situation to a Mafia Don who oversees illegal events without ever actually taking a direct part in them.
Another thing that strikes me about all this (and the Rob Ford scandal) is the way that it illustrates the inequalities in our system. Nigel Wright, Benjamin Perrin, and the other are wealthy individuals who can use their wealth and power to protect themselves from the law. Even with guilty verdicts there is almost zero chance that any of these wealthy individuals will spend time behind bars, and even if they do, they can emerge afterwards still wealthy and still connected. Yet our prisons are full of individuals who never abused power (because they never had any) and are guilty of petty crimes that come out of their severely limited options and poverty in youth. If a guy like Rob Ford had not been born wealthy he wouldn't be mayor today and there is a very good chance he would be in prison as well. This is not to say that working-class people never get ahead. Rather, it is to say that wealthy people are more or less immune from paying the prices in life and society that others are routinely forced to pay. And in many cases the crimes that the poor pay for are significantly less significant than those committed by white men in suits.
Like a godfather of organized crime, Harper has orchestrated an continual undermining of democracy in this country. Countless members of his circle are convicted criminals, awaiting trial, or simply deeply shady. He has overseen bribery and seemingly countless incidents of electoral fraud. And yet he goes merry along in his chauffeur driven limo, and, like a loyal Mafia family, his caucus gives him standing ovations every time he opens his mouth. His closest Ministers know full well he is crooked and have approved, and been involved in his corruption. They know that they can't oust him because at the very least they will be admitting to being culpable in his corruption.
And like most Mafia Dons, Harper will retire comfortably while other fools, sorry idiots who have failed to understand that in Harper's case loyalty only moves in one direction, pay for his crimes.
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