Unfortunately for Stephen Harper, his fingerprints are all over the Senate expense scandal.
It was the prime minister who appointed Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin to the upper chamber.
He — or at least his advisers — had to have known that neither of them spent a lot of time in their home provinces.
It's also believed that both Senators were appointed to assist with the Conservative Party fundraising machine. That theory has now been partially backed up: we now know that both Senators have, allegedly, billed taxpayers for attending Tory fundraisers.
But now — as both maligned senators face ethical and legal questions about their residency and travel expenses — Harper and the Conservatives are trying to distance themselves from those two.
But does that mean that he's throwing them under the bus?
Mike Duffy seems to think that's the case with him.
Here's an excerpt from John Ivison's recent column from the National Post.
Mr. Duffy’s lawyers have barred him from speaking to the press but he has told friends that he feels he has been thrown under the bus and that the Conservative PR machine is out to destroy him.
Sources close to the now-Independent senator at the centre of the expenses scandal said Mr. Duffy was recruited to present a “kinder, softer” face to the Conservative Party in the run-up to the 2011 election. Friends say he was told that political appearances on the Senate tab were not only tolerated, they were expected by the Prime Minister.
The Conservatives have argued that all Senators must follow the rules but Ivison suggests, that Duffy believes, that he was asked to bend them.
Was the same asked of Wallin?
Auditor General Michael Ferguson is now poised to review all senators' expenses, including travel and office expenses.
It's probably a good bet that the comprehensive audit will find that other senators — from both the Conservatives and Liberals — have used taxpayer dollars to attend party fundraisers. Harper for example, has appointed several ethnic senators who are 'expected' to assist the party in its outreach efforts to Koreans, Filipinos, Indo-Canadians etc..
If caught — are these Senators going to be thrown 'under the bus' as well?
(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)
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