Scandal, -Gate, Affair and Reform

Without a doubt, these are interesting times for those who, like the regina mom, follow Canadian politics.  The Senate Scandal aka the Wright-Duffy Affair aka Prime Minister Harper’s Watergate has legs and continues to run, despite Margaret Wente’s mad ravings in the Globe and Mail.

I love a juicy scandal. What better way to fill a column than stories about greedy, lying politicians getting their comeuppance, and secret payoffs, and explosive revelations, and the decline of democracy as we know it? Besides, Stephen Harper is not most people’s favourite guy. So it pains me to report that despite the most recent breathless headlines, the Senate scandal has run out of legs.

Wrong, Marg.  Today, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that the Privy Council Office found the missing email messages from former PMO legal adviser Benjamin Perrin!

The Privy Council Office has informed the RCMP that emails belonging to Benjamin Perrin, the former counsel for the Prime Minister’s Office named in court documents related to a deal between Nigel Wright and Senator Mike Duffy, were not deleted as was previously believed.

In fact, Perrin’s account had been frozen “due to unrelated litigation.”

“We regret that we previously failed, even if inadvertently, to accurately inform you [the RCMP] and the PMO about the availability of Mr. Perrin’s emails,” the PCO says in a letter to the RCMP. “We apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused.”

The PCO says it will turn the email records over to the RCMP immediately.

Back in May when this story was just growing its legs, Perrin said he had nothing to do with the mess.

I was not consulted on, and did not participate in, Nigel Wright’s decision to write a personal cheque to reimburse Senator Duffy’s expenses.

I have never communicated with the Prime Minister on this matter.

In all my work, I have been committed to making our country a better place and I hope my record of service speaks for itself.

Is Perrin going to be the next one thrown under the PM’s bus?  Will this finally be the end of Stephen Harper as PM? Or is something else going on here?

trm asks that last question because she noticed a lot of wet pants on Twitter over the weekend, following the National Post‘s publication of Andrew Coyne’s piece praising CPC MP Michael Chong’s proposed Reform Act.

Should it pass, Parliament would never be the same again. The bill would fundamentally recast the relationship between party leaders and caucuses, and with it the whole structure of our politics. The balance of power would shift, irrevocably, in favour of MPs and their riding associations, and away from the leaders and their apparatchiks. In sum, this is a vastly consequential bill, and fully deserving of the historical echoes in its short title: The Reform Act 2013.

Though the Act has yet to see the light of day, Tweeps were raving about it, under the #ReformAct hashtag.  It seems to trm that Canadians are so eager to rid the country of Stephen Harper that they’ll take the first thing that comes along — sight unseen — to do so. If other parties had a one member, one vote system of electing a leader they’d be less eager to legislate power away from the parties’ grassroots.  Or, if Conservative Party Members of Parliament had courage they’d stand up to the PM.

As far as trm is concerned, it’s dangerous to make decisions based on what pundits say or about something not yet available to read.  But saying so on Twitter does not make one a lot of friends.  Chong was going to present it on Thursday but has since changed his mind and will now do so on Tuesday.

Since the text of the bill has not been released, there has been much speculation about its intent. The bill should not be viewed as a critique on any of the current leaders in the House of Commons. To suggest otherwise, misinterprets the intent of the bill.

Due to the interest surrounding the content of the bill, I have decided to introduce it in the House of Commons earlier than previously planned. This will allow me to release the text of the bill to the public and explain its content to Canadians.

This is all well and good — and lookit! There’s a website, too!  But isn’t it interesting that it will fall in the news cycle immediately following stories about the almost magical finding of Perrin’s emails?

trm has many more questions!  She hopes the scandal doesn’t get lost in the hullaballoo already publicizing the Reform Act.

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