It seems like it’s not a very good time to be a prosecutor in Canada. The Crown came up empty in their efforts to convict Jian Ghomeshi of sexual assault, and that result will likely discourage a great many women from ever coming forward to seek justice.
Then Thursday came word that “Mike Duffy had beat the wrap”. The former broadcaster turned Senator has been facing a total of 31 criminal charges including bribery. The government of Stephen Harper, which made Duff a senator back in 2009, watched with apparent helplessness as the Mounties spent thousands of hours investigating in an effort to come up something in the way of evidence that might result in a conviction.
But clearly this was a horse that just wouldn’t run on any track. The Ontario judge who heard the case painted a very scary picture of the Prime Minister’s Office under Harper, determined to make Duffy the fall guy, and make the whole thing go away before an election.
In his decision that ran to more than 300 pages, the judge properly asked how Duff could be charged with accepting a $90,000 bribe from Harper’s Chief of Staff Nigel Wright, when Mr. Wright was not charged with anything. I wonder if we will ever get an honest accounting of how many millions were spent prosecuting Duffy, and trying to come up with a similar case against Pamela Wallin and others.
It took more than three years, and the only real casualty was the Red Chamber itself. It has never been held in high regard by many Canadians, but we’re stuck with it. You can’t just lock the doors, or turn it into a giant birdhouse, although heaven knows that would be a better use of the space.
Mike Duffy will no doubt return to his seat and do his best to stay there until he’s 75. After all he’s got legal bills to pay, and two homes to maintain.
I’m Roger Currie