Anyone who has watched events unfolding in Ottawa this weeks (and let's face it, anyone who is interested in the future of the country has been watching with keen interest), knows the degree to which this has become a tragicomedy. The tragedy element is found in the fact that the downfall of these people (if indeed downfall we see) is a direct result of the flaws in their character. Duffy's seemingly lifelong thirst for a senate seat meant rules would be bent or broken because he just HAD to have that seat. An experienced, not entirely unintelligent newsman, was reduced to a childlike state of desire, anticipation, and self-interested protectiveness, to have and keep this job. Meanwhile, Harper's effort to control everything, particularly the message, has led to a massive coverup of Watergate proportions. The comedy of this situation is found in the continued denial that central players were involved in this 'bribery' and coverup, even when an email trail now demonstrates conclusively that there is no longer any plausible deniability.
I am absolutely gob-smacked to hear now that anyone believes the PM when he says he didn't know about the 90k check. The reason that I think that plausible deniability is now a defunct position is that practically everyone was involved in the effort to pay off Duffy's expenses and then, more importantly, it seems that even more people were involved in the cover-up. It is simply impossible to believe that Harper was talking about so-called media lines, message control etc but that the most controlling PM in history wouldn't wonder why he was talking about it. It is simply unfathomable. And the comedy of denial continues apace as the PM denies that Ray Novak didn't read important emails from his boss on the central government scandal. It would take a really good playwright to make this kind of stuff up.
But as ridiculous as all of this is, there is one thing that seems to me as important (or perhaps more important) that no one is really talking about. I have listened to all the media commentators over the past couple of weeks as well as reading a number of good editorials on the issues. But all of this talk has been startlingly logistic. It is a sign of just how far our so-called democracy has fallen that media commentators continually talk about how the Conservative Party will "deal with this" on the campaign trail! Just think about that for a moment. We have a Watergate like coverup that goes to the very heart of our executive branch of government, illegal checks, laundered audits, willful deception, intentional deceptive media spin, and the primary question for the media commentators seems to be how will the government handle this on the campaign trail! In other words, the media is now asking how the government will attempt to deceive the public about an already revealed deception. And keep in mind the degree to which this deception dwarfs what went on with the sponsorship scandal. In that case we had a public inquiry and the events didn't involve the PM or the PMO. However, here we are in a situation in which those involved in the initial cover-up are still with the Prime Minister on a daily and intimate basis. Thus the cover-up not only was integral to the daily running of the PMO but it continues even as we move to an election. At least Nixon and his co-conspirators were out of the picture by the time an election rolled around. It is truly a sad time for democracy in our country that many take it as read that the PMO can orchestrate a cover-up at the highest level and can, as a matter of course, only bother to deal with this cover-up in terms of how they can best continue to cover it up!
When I was young, growing up in Vietnam era U.S., I was struck by the fact that when people talked about the war in IndoChina, they talked about the war's efficacy, its prospect for success of failure, whether the longterm goals of the U.S. might be helped or hindered by this war. I never once remember anyone talking about whether the U.S. had the moral right to suppress elections that had been internationally agreed upon, and then invade a sovereign nation and carpet bomb it killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process. To me that always seemed to be the central question, the one no one wanted to ask.