Duffy Trial Day 3: “You Look Marvelous”
It’s Astounding. Time is Fleeting. Madness takes its toll
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The cross examination of the first witness in the Duffy trial continued yesterday and the Defence also released copies of the diary of the Canadian Senate’s chubby cherub. It appears the old Duff took lots of little notes about his political colleagues which are tucked between the pages of his daily agenda and the media are thumbing the pages like university students cramming for midterms.
You can expect to hear much taken from these diaries by the media and each new revelation will be treated with the frenzied excitement of winning contestants on The Price is Right.
But that’s down the road. For now, we must content ourselves with what is happening in the courtroom.
If the trial of Senator Mike Duffy can be noted for anything to this point, it is that we’re getting a rare look behind the curtain that separates the reality of politics from the performance of it. It shares much with musical theatre but without the music (or much in the real talent for that matter). It’s sort of like The Rocky Horror Picture Show without the camp humour, Tim Curry or songs like the Time Warp or Sweet Transvestite.
Consider the topics of testimony today and remember that we’re paying for this.
There was discussion about a photograph given to Senator Duffy by the Prime Minister on which he had written, “To Duff, a great journalist and a great senator. Thanks for being one of my best, hardest-working appointments ever!”
Lovely isn’t it?
It’s the kind of phrase that only someone bedazzled by themselves could write. It appears to be a wonderful compliment paid to someone else but the phrase, “one of my best, hardest working appointments ever!” is a bit of a giveaway about it’s true meaning. It’s all about Stephen Harper and how brilliant he was for appointing the Old Duffster.
I gather the Prime Minister must have been dazzled by the light at the time because his appointment is not looking quite so brilliant these days.
On a personal note, I don’t think it’s all that difficult to be identified as one of Stephen Harper’s best appointments when you consider other appointments by the PM that include Arthur Porter the former Head of CSIS now in a Panamanian prison fighting extradition to Canada to face fraud charges; Senator Pamela Wallin currently under investigation by the RCMP; Dean Del Maestro, the PM’s former Parliamentary Secretary convicted of illegal campaign funding; Senator Patrick Brazeau currently charged with fraud; former PMO staffer Bruce Carson charged with fraud for a second time and Dimitri Soudras the former Executive Director of the PC Party who fled his loyalty to both Party and Leader to follow the love of his life to the warm embrace of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.
It’s quite the little rogue’s gallery – but I digress.
Christie Blatchford of the National Post dismisses the photograph as just flowering language and meaningless flattery and she may well be right but that’s the point isn’t it? It’s the illusion of appreciation on the same level as the illusion of leadership our political leaders practice every day.
Still those in the political class or who hover nearby live for stuff like this. It reassures them that their contribution to the political stage show actually has meaning.
Whatever else it may or may not indicate, however, the picture does reveal the lengths to which the Prime Minister was prepared to go to keep the good senator pounding the pavement on behalf of the Party. In politics the Party always comes first – citizens are secondary. The Duffmeister was a crackerjack fund raiser and that is what really counts. Money first. Votes second and finally some actual governance if there’s any time left.
The question that keeps coming to my mind is, “How can people have so little self-respect that they use themselves and each other this way?”
Still, the show must go on and everyone must be made to look marvelous – or at least as close to marvelous as it is possible to get.
One of the charges against the senator is that he paid for the services of a makeup artist at the G20 Summit. I don’t mind admitting that I’m naïve enough to believe that the G20 is actually government business and so expenses related to it are legitimate business expenses. “Not so,” says the Crown and his position was not ameliorated by the knowledge that the Prime Minister took advantage of Senator Duffster’s makeup artist at the same summit.
Not to get too technical but if Senator Duffy claimed a reimbursement for the cost of the makeup artist that both he and the Prime Minister used, it would seem to me that the Prime Minister was also being made to look marvelous at taxpayer expense.
There were some who claimed that the PM never charged for a makeup artist; indeed his office stated emphatically that the PM has his own stylist (as befits the star of the show) and her services are paid for by the Conservative Party. But as Jennifer Ditchburn of Canadian Press revealed, it was in fact, the Foreign Affairs Department (which is funded by you and me) that paid for the travel cost of Stephen Harper’s stylist and it was significantly more than the $300 dollars the Old Duff paid for his.
I can appreciate the need to look marvelous and can almost accept the fact that you and I pay for it but where things get a little murky for me is trying to reconcile why it is acceptable for the Prime Minister to have taxpayers pay for someone to try and make him look marvelous but a criminal act when the Duffster does the same thing. He was, after all, helping the PM at the Summit.
But there appears to be a difference and one can only hope that the Crown who brought this particular charge will find the time to explain what that difference actually might be at some future point in time.
Personally, I think that the stylist should be on trial. While I appreciate she didn’t have much to work with when it came to both the PM and the Senator, a licensed professional should have been able to achieve more than she did. Perhaps the Crown should check her professional credentials to see if a fraud has been perpetrated.
Quite simply, the Canadian people paid for ‘marvelous’ and we’re not getting ‘marvelous’. But then, we paid for good governance and we’re not getting that either so there’s probably not much point in complaining.
The main thing this trial continues to highlight is that while the actors might change, the play remains the same and there is always a new performance every day.
Isn’t that marvelous?
Day 2: The Trial, Taxes and Semantics
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