View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Harper Senate Scandal Far From Over – Nov 6, 2013

Dr. EvilCFN – If you listen to the chatter amongst Conservative Hill staff, the government has enacted its revenge and punished the three senators who embarrassed the party and the Prime Minister. To them revenge is sweet, now it is forward to the 2015 election. Roll out the good news announcements, fire off the press releases, scatter ministers throughout the country spreading the good word to those Canadians who pay their taxes and play by the rules.

If you listen to the short pants brigade all is good in their political world right now, the Senate scandal is behind them. The infamous three are gone, destined to become a footnote in our history books. Those pesky opposition MPs will ask questions for a while longer, but even they will lose interest. The trouble with that analysis is that most of the short pants haven’t spent time in opposition. They can’t imagine all the potential twists and turns left in this saga. The senators are suspended without pay for two years, IE November 2015, just after the date for the next election. In a perfect world, the Conservatives won’t have to deal with them until then.

But this isn’t a perfect world, it is a political world and in politics it always pays to anticipate where things might lead.

They have banished three senators, two of whom are master story tellers and media savvy. Two household names who have nothing to lose by fighting back. How many binders of emails and documents do they have in their possession? How many will find their way into the public domain?

There are former and present political staff who know the inside story. When will they feel the need to protect their own reputation? What documents do they have?

There is an on-going RCMP investigation. There may or may not be charges, but there will be lots of allegations of wrong doing and even if individuals are not charged by the RCMP, that in itself will be a story that will remind the public about the Senate scandal.

Outside of potential criminal proceedings, they have now added possible civil lawsuits over the suspension of the three senators. How long do you think it will take for a lawyer who really dislikes the Prime Minister’s politics to get involved?

Any trial (civil or criminal) will involve witnesses testifying under oath and almost certainly a subpoena for the Prime Minister to appear. Whether he does or not, all of this will provoke a firestorm of media coverage during the lead up to the next election.

Let us not forget the Auditor General. Media reports suggest he will bring out somewhere between one and three audit reports into Senate expenses. Those audits won’t be released over night, but over the next year or so- just as the party kicks into high gear in their 2015 election preparation.

This story will not fade away. For the opposition parties this is the gift that will keep on giving, right up to the 2015 election.

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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