- Michael Harris offers a theory for the Cons' handling of the Clusterduff - from their willingness to pay him off to their subsequent decision to cut him loose:
Why were the CPC and the PM’s chief of staff willing to risk what would be an explosive scandal if the facts leaked out, as they did on May 14, 2013? The answer that seems most likely is this: To stop an audit into Senator Duffy trailing back into the 2011 election.- Gloria Galloway reports on the Cons' choice to let polluters write a new set of laws to expose Canada's fisheries to destruction.
In the early innings of this story, Conservative strategists took the view that if the Duffy expenses were paid back, then there would be no further reason to “review” Duffy’s expenses.
If the audit could be stopped, it would cut off further embarrassment for a government that was beginning to smell of corruption. Scandals involving a handful of key Harper appointments — Bruce Carson, Arthur Porter, Dean del Mastro, Peter Penashue, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau — were beginning to take a toll.
The government also was labouring under the shadow of dirty tricks in the last election, from robocalls that had Elections Canada investigating 56 ridings where voter suppression had been alleged, to the use by the CPC in 14 Conservative campaigns of the U.S. firm Front Porch Strategies, an campaign organizing group with close ties to the Republican Party. The law is murky on whether it is legal for foreigners to campaign on the ground in a Canadian election, as Front Porch did in the campaigns of Julian Fantino and Rick Dykstra.
As the custodian of the party, Nigel Wright didn’t need to have the PM’s most important fundraiser adding to Tory problems — particularly since Duffy played such a key role in the 2011 election, campaigning for 17 Conservative candidates during the writ period and helping the Tories to their majority.
Could the party’s use of Duffy’s services during that election stand up to scrutiny? Was that the part of the story Nigel Wright’s payment was designed to bury? Is that why it was so important to change the channel?
- David Olive makes the case for a substantially higher minimum wage to make low-wage employment less precarious. And Thandiwe Vela writes that younger workers are turning toward unions as a means of winning some say over their workplace.
- Finally, you'll find WinkProgress as a new addition to the U.S. blogroll to the right - but I'll highlight it here as well as being worth a look.