The great thing about the Rob Ford scandal? That there’s been a tiny hiatus, a little breathing space when you can sit back and wonder what will happen next, without being bombarded by constant new horrors. It won’t last — in fact, there’s new information from warrants likely this week — but there’s been a little break.
The Senate scandal? No break there.
It just seems like it will never end. Monday, it was news about a set of emails that the government maintained had been destroyed — from a lawyer working with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during the time a deal was being struck with Sen. Mike Duffy — that have now resurfaced. Watching Twitter comments scroll by on the CBC’s news channel, it’s plain to see that the public has more than a few questions about whether the off-again, on-again emails have been laundered during their time in the land of the missing — it must be disheartening for the federal Tories, watching their credibility erode in front of their eyes despite their regular protestations of innocence.
It must be even more galling because Nigel Wright, who paid the money used to pay off Duffy’s improper travel expenses and now one of the people at the centre of the scandal, warned early in the process that this was just the sort of thing the party had to avoid.
His quote, from an email during the process of striking the Duffy deal? That officials “have to do this in a way that does not lead to the Chinese water torture of new facts in the public domain, that the PM does not want …”
Well, the Chinese water torture has arrived, with a steady drip, drip, drip of new facts almost every day.
Astute observers have noticed another small change: for weeks, answering questions on the scandal, a variety of Tory talking points have said that only two people were the subject of RCMP investigation: Wright and Duffy.
The subtle change Monday? Here’s Tory Paul Calandra: “What is also quite clear is that the Prime Minister’s Office is continuing to assist the RCMP in this investigation, but also, the RCMP has identified Nigel Wright and Senator Duffy as the main subjects of this current investigation.” Just a tiny shift: now, they’re the main subjects — but it appears they are no longer alone.
Drip, drip, drip.
One commentator on the whole debacle put it very clearly: the Watergate scandal, which brought down U.S. President Richard Nixon, was not created by a tawdry little campaign break-in at the Watergate Hotel. It was caused by the way the Nixon administration, and Nixon himself, chose to handle the fallout through coverup and lies.
Harper and the federal Conservatives can continue their mantra that the issue is centred on two individuals, Duffy and Wright.
The fact is, though, that it now encompasses far more than that. There’s the money, and then there’s the coverup. Nixon’s passed on, but he could tell modern politicians a thing or two about how, when you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging.
The Tories must be hoping something new pops up on Rob Ford. Real soon.