04.21.2016 11:06 AM

My take on Duffy, from a year ago this week


While myriad controversies—always nouns, always with “gate” appended as a suffix—always transfix the commentariat, they always leave Mr. and Mrs. Frontporch cold. The Duffy “scandal” is no exception.

That is because scandal-mongering, like the Senate itself, is a thankless task (and taskless thanks). With perhaps the notable historic exception of the Watergate break-in, it doesn’t really work anymore.

There are three reasons why:

1. The media/political punditocracy refer to everything, pretty much, as a scandal.

2. Regrettably, if you were to ask Joe and Jane Frontporch—and someone really should, one of these days—they would tell you: they already believe that everyone who wields power in Ottawa/Washington/wherever is an unindicted co-conspirator, i.e., a crook. Ipso facto, news reports to the effect that a politician has allegedly committed theft, fraud, and breach of trust aren’t news at all. They are, instead, like weather reports: they happen every day, they are rarely good news, and there is nothing Joe and Jane can do about them.

3. Joe and Jane Frontporch have heard the hysteria and histrionics about “scandals” way, way too many times. Way. And, consequently, they now don’t believe any of it until the good Senator is led away in handcuffs and a fetching orange pantsuit.

In the real world, the real scandals are things like not having a job, and being unable to pay the bills. The real scandals are seeing your ailing parent curled up on a bed in a hospital corridor, waiting days to get seen by a doctor. The real scandals are governments spending untold billions on security—only to thereafter shrug when some deranged, lone wolf fanatic slips through their labyrinth of scanners and spies, and commit terrible crimes.

Those things, to Joe and Jane Frontporch, are the real scandals.

Not, to put a fine point on it, Mike Duffy. That, they feel, is just another sad case of Ottawa talking about Ottawa—and not the real scandals, in the real world.


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    Matt says:

    16 of 31 charges dismissed so far as of 12:50pm. Ruling ongoing.

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      Matt says:

      28 of 31 dismissed.

      Reporters now expecting acquittal on all 31 charges.

      Disaster for the RCMP and Crown.

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        Matt says:

        It’s official. All 31 charges dismissed.

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    davie says:

    Whoa…complete discharge.
    I guess if nobody bribed you, then you weren’t bribed.

    Springtime in our justice system has been pretty good for celebrities.

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      Matt says:

      Guess two questions come to mind:

      1) Who’s Duffy going to sue, and

      2) Does this full acquittal of Duffy destroy the cases against Brazeau, Wallin, Harb and any other Senators that had their expenses referred to the RCMP?

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        Warren says:

        That NDP commercial from mid-campaign is a doozy. He’ll likely start there. It’s still all over the Internet.

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          JH says:

          Liberals, NDP and Lame Stream Media are just about what we expected them to be as well as Harper’s PMO. None of them are shining examples of what we expect of our so called leaders and media.

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    EB says:

    Here is my take on the whole affair:

    Smart judge who saw through the whole charade.
    Mike Duffy innocent dupe acting on the advice and suggestions of Harper and the PMO.

    The ‘scandal’ here is the duplicitous conniving of the PMO. Duffy was the golden goose for the Conservative Party. When the Media started paying attention to what was clearly a dubious arrangement, the Conservatives attempted to scapegoat Duffy.

    I almost, but not quite, feel sorry for Mr. Duffy. He was hung out to dry by Mr. Harper.

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      Maps Onburt says:

      Well sorry my friend but your take is complete nonsense. While Duffy was innocent of all charges, it is EXTREMELY clear that morally his nose was very deep into the trough. The PMO while admittedly trying to save the governments reputation threw Duffy under the bus, also tried to get him to pay back the expenses. Anybody who knew Nigel knew he was acting out of a sense of moral outrage at Duffy’s behaviour. The RCMP didn’t need a judge to tell them that he didn’t do anything intentionally wrong. The media, the opposition and the average Joe all were going after Duffy with full moral outrage. It’s a bit much to now say that the government should have just said “Hey Duf…. You didn’t do anything WRONG”. I KNOW if I did anything that Duffy did on my expense reports I’d be fired for cause and I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on because our expense rules are written down. Until this happened, there were essentially no expense rules for senators and hence he couldn’t be convicted of violating them. He still was morally corrupt and if you’d take off your partisan blinkers, you’d see it. Charging for a primary residence when you only visit it occasionally in the summer and it isn’t winterized is wrong. Getting to get 90K from your employer to “travel” from your permanent residence in Ottawa to Ottawa is wrong. It should have been illegal.. It wasn’t so no conviction but the government was as outraged by the porcine behaviour as the rest of us. If anything, people were hanging them out to dry for not doing enough.

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    ottlib says:

    So, an exercise in political damage control that morphed into a political vendetta comes to its final and ignominious end.

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    Steve T says:

    As much as there is carping about the Duffy verdict, and the Ghomeshi verdict before that, personally I’m glad to see that our justice system still requires that pesky thing called proof. The alternative is pretty scary.

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    Bluegreenblogger says:

    I dunno about anybody else, but I am certainly not surprised by the verdict. Really, nobody should be. It was the correct finding. Maybe our leaders will hesitate next time. Franco famously said, ‘For our friends, anything. For enemies, ‘The Law’. The Harper took this sage advice to heart repeatedly. Duffy was just the most glaringly obvious abuse of our Justice system.

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    Francis says:

    I think the word “scandal” is often used as a derivative for “drama”.

    The Duffy scandal was very much a scandal because of dramatic twists and turns of deception, shady communications and duplicitous behaviour of those involved. Its massively entertaining when a Senator rises in the Red Chamber to explicitly accuse the leadership of government of concocting a PR strategy to mitigate the damage of a controversy that would implicate the brass of the PMO.

    It was a scandal; not a kids dying in Syria or terrorists on Parliament Hill scandal, but a dramatic political scandal.

    Had Stephen Harper still been in office today or had this verdict come a year ago, then this would have been a full blown Canadian Watergate.

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    JH says:

    Fife’s defence of the media hatchet job on Duffy on QP was a joke. Any reading of the 3 year record will show different. No matter though, where the real decision is being made is on main street. There besides the Harper PMO gang, the folks are excoriating the RCMP and the press in general for their unprofessionalism over the past 3 years of the case. No wonder the RCMP is under fire all the time and the media industry has become a sinking ship. Self inflicted injuries I’d say. Duffy and to a lesser extent Wallin are on the way to becoming Canadian heroes. Not because they were so pure, but because their attackers sank so low. Watch!

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