Mr. Rathgeber said the PMO staffers’ handling of the situation was all too familiar and speaks to a “culture of invincibility” among some of the PMO staff.Nor should it come as much surprise that the Cons' political direction has been based on developing excuses to reach a desired outcome, rather than actually applying rules as they stand.
“It’s shocking, but it validates everything I’ve ever said about their modus operandi. They have no ethical, or sometimes legal, boundaries and I would say without any doubt that a Senate report into expenses is a higher level of improper interference but that level of micromanagement goes on in House of Commons reports all the time,” he said.
Opposition members have long alleged that since the Conservatives have had a majority on every committee since 2011, no committee report is tabled until the PMO signs off on it.
“There is no part in the Ottawa bubble that they think is beyond their reach or their ability, quite frankly, to manipulate or control,” said Mr. Rathgeber.
“The fact that Parliament is supposed to be independent from the government and is supposed to be a check on the government is completely perverted in their view. They don’t see Parliament, either the House of Commons or the Senate, as being a check on executive power. They see the government caucus as an extension of PMO communications and their rubber stamp.”
Mr. Beardsley said that near the end of his time in the PMO he could see a shift toward the office “tightening up” and becoming more proactive in its “micromanagement” of issues. He has looked through the emails himself and considers them proof of what was speculated about the change in management under the succession of chiefs of staff leading up to Mr. Wright.
But it's worth highlighting what that combination means for one of their primary attacks on the NDP.
Remember that the only decision-making body which has claimed to find a problem the NDP's parliamentary offices is the uber-secretive Board of Internal Economy - a committee of MPs with a Con majority.
The NDP has gone out of its way to have somebody evaluate its actions other than MPs acting as puppets for the PMO. And the Cons have refused any such neutral assessment.
So let's ask: is there any reason to think the BOIE's Con members operated under anything other than the PMO's instructions in sitting in judgment of a political opponent? And if not, shouldn't the Duffy scandal tell us everything we need to know as to whether that judgment is based on anything more than Stephen Harper's politically-motivated orders?