View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Harper Government Losing Spin War Over Scandals – May 24, 2013

Dr. EvilCFN – The Senate scandal continues to dog the Harper Conservatives with new revelations occurring on almost a daily basis. Watching from the sidelines, it’s also interesting to watch the spin wars unfold as each party tries to get its message out to the public. So far I would have to give the opposition spin machines the edge.

No one can down play the seriousness of the issue both for the individuals concerned, for the Prime Minister, the Conservative Party or the Senate itself. The accusations are very serious as the number of investigations so indicates.

We do have to be careful though to separate fact from rhetoric. Having spent a decade on the Opposition side of the House creating issues for Liberal governments to handle; I am perhaps a bit cynical with some of the claims I see or with some of the questions I see asked in the House of Commons.

The Liberals released their ten questions that they would like to have answered and like the public at large, I too have questions that I would like to see answered. Here are a few of them.

In my experience (most of which admittedly was on the House side), most committee reports go through several drafts before a final version is agreed to by the various members of the committee. There can be any number of redrafts.

Right now all the attention is focused on the Duffy report and how one version differs from the other. As a matter of curiosity, how many redrafts did the Mac Harb report go through? Does the original draft of that report exactly match the final version or were there changes made?

Judging by the present position of the Liberals on the final version of the Duffy report, did the Liberal senators on the committee sign off on that draft? If not, why didn’t they attach a dissenting or minority report?

With some six Liberal senators on the Committee of Internal Economy are we to believe that not one senator or staffer consulted with the Office of the Leader of the Opposition to give them a heads up on when the Duffy or Harb report might be finished? Did they ask for talk points or guidance on their communication strategy for when the report was released? I am just curious.

To date, I don’t see why there was a need to help Duffy out financially. He had a house in Ottawa and another in PEI, why not simply mortgage one or both? And if for some reason a mortgage wasn’t possible then why not put one up for sale?

This issue shows no sign of going away. My sense is that there will be many twists and turns to the story before all the facts are known.

Over the next few days and possibly even months, there will be many more questions but hopefully some answers as well.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails. To sponsor this column please  email!

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