First, I'm not sure some commentators (especially those thinking that "the cheque" is the real story) have noticed the significance of this juxtaposition of events:
A senior government official told Postmedia News on Thursday that Wright wrote a cheque to Duffy’s lawyer “in trust.” The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the sole stipulation for giving the money was “that it would be used to pay back taxpayers” and putting it in trust “was the best way to achieve this.”Now, to the extent that account is accurate, we can draw a couple of conclusions. First, the issue was seen as a formal one requiring the use of Duffy's lawyer rather than a personal cheque - as might be expected if the "just helping a friend" storyline were to hold up. And second, it means that there's a paper trail consisting not only of the cheque, but also of some sort of trust conditions placed on the payment of the money to Duffy's lawyer - and I wouldn't use the "sole stipulation" wording in the Cons' spin to rule out the possibility of another agreement beyond the trust conditions themselves.
However, Duffy also took out a loan from Royal Bank to cover the cost of repaying his Senate expenses, according to a Senate source with knowledge of the financial arrangement. On Wednesday, Duffy told CTV in an email that he dealt with the bank alone and Wright was not involved in that transaction.
And what about the content of that agreement? Well, that's where the open question of Wright's ability to ensure a whitewash of the Senate's audit of Duffy's expenses come into play.
In effect, no one Senate leader would seem to have had the ability to guarantee the outcome of a report from the internal economy committee. Instead, Wright's payment seems to have been predicated on the assurance that a majority of that committee would take orders, rather than even questioning whether the Prime Minister's Office should be able to dictate the terms of the Senate's own proceedings.
Of course, that utterly warped sense of loyalty to Harper is far from new for his appointed senators. But it absolutely goes to the core of the Senate as an institution.
If an operator from the PMO can make - and keep - promises as to what Senate committee members will decide in policing their own members, then there's absolutely no credible argument to be made that the upper chamber is even pretending to function as an independent body. And so, abolish, abolish, abolish.