Senate circus still in play

We witnessed history here Tuesday evening, and it was about as tawdry as it gets.

We witnessed history here Tuesday evening, and it was about as tawdry as it gets.

An embarrassed Senate further embarrassed itself with an efficient execution before a proper trial for three of its own.

Canadians may not really care about due process in its Senate, but after Tuesday surely they can understand that if you become a problem for Stephen Harper you become roadkill.

One really just wanted to look away before the firing squad rose in its place.

For Harper, it was a political victory but not a substantive one. This Senate circus dragged on so long it did him more damage during the two-week show than any benefit he could have accrued from the vote that removed Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin from the Senate for up to two years.

Harper has removed the privileged soapbox that the trio, particularly Duffy, had from their Senate perch.

He can tell the faithful the three raided the public purse and were purged. He can crow that the Liberals want to protect the “club” and tried to keep the three in there as long as possible. The Harper argument will be simple going forward — Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff who Harper maintains acted in concert with Duffy, is gone. Duffy is gone. Wallin is gone. Brazeau is gone.

This may slow the Senate saga temporarily, but it will not kill it.

There is no way to understate what the Conservative majority in the Senate has done and they had all better be sure they have clean hands before they, too, are reduced to health and life insurance benefits.

None of the three faces any charges in relation to their spending, although Brazeau does face criminal charges of assault and sexual assault.

Duffy is under police investigation for possible breach of trust and subsequent cover story he says was cooked up in Harper’s office and Wallin is being probed in relation to her travel expense claims.

A Liberal, Mac Harb, is also under police investigation but he has retired from the Senate.

If any of the three were to be charged, tried and convicted between Tuesday’s suspension and their potential date of return in 2015, the suspension would become an expulsion, but on the day they received their sentences they had been charged with nothing.

In the meantime, a precedent has been established and the suspensions have shown the country that the Conservative majority is merely an arm of the PMO and feels it is above the law.

Brazeau is hardly an oracle, but when he warns that those voting to suspend could one day be on the other side of this gulf, he should be heeded.

Brazeau, the first to be booted, walked resolutely to his car, silent, a night after he wavered between lashing out, playing the race card and taking the high road for his children in an emotional address.

Duffy, who says he is having heart work done later this week, missed his own execution. It was lost on no one that Duffy, who has spent most of his life riding the vagaries of the news gods, was suspended on a day when Rob Ford knocked Duffy off the top of the national newscasts.

Last came Wallin to rue the “sad day for democracy,” as she departed the chamber for possibly the last time. “If we can’t expect the rule of law in Canada, then where on earth can we expect it?’’ she said.

Harper may have shut down one avenue of trouble, but more loom.

Duffy, in particular, is expert in surreptitiously making documents available. He may not yet be done because after two weeks of successfully picking at Harper’s credibility he will likely look for a proper place and time for his next salvo.

There are continuing RCMP investigations, a Senate audit, the potential for Wright to step forward to defend his reputation and holes in the story of a prime minister who maintains he was in the dark as a deal was cut to pay Duffy’s expenses, a fake narrative was crafted and his legal fees were paid by the party.

It’s going to take more than three Senate ejector seats to get past that.

Tim Harper is a syndicated Toronto Star national news columnist.

Just Posted

Ottawa’s apathy on rural crime ‘outrageous,’ say central Alberta MPs

Recent parliamentary committee report on rural crime inadequate say MPs

The future’s exciting, but also a bit scary, for Red Deer’s high school grads

Concerns about job prospects, high cost of education expressed

Blind calf finds friendship in dog in central Alberta

Heaven and Sweetpea are best buddies. Heaven, a calf who was born… Continue reading

Walk raises awareness of victims of domestic violence

Central Alberta men and boys will walk a mile in high heels… Continue reading

Speeding a ‘constant concern’ for residents, says Red Deer RCMP

Red Deer RCMP ramps up its efforts to curb speeding in the… Continue reading

Dogs and drugs don’t mix: Red Deer business wants to leave downtown after 18 years

One business owner is done with downtown Red Deer after 18 years.… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Seniors: The unheard melodies

The sights and sounds around us enable us to experience our world.… Continue reading

Police find urn with ashes along bank of Red Deer River

RCMP find urn with ashes along bank of Red Deer River Red… Continue reading

North Vancouver RCMP seek skier whose pole caused brain injury to B.C. teen

VANCOUVER — A North Vancouver family is joining with RCMP to urge… Continue reading

Canadian ‘Aladdin’ star eyes diverse career championing homegrown talent

TORONTO — Canadian “Aladdin” star Mena Massoud says his wild carpet ride… Continue reading

Supreme Court will tuck into UberEats case about drivers’ benefit rights

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will help decide whether a… Continue reading

Speech from the throne: Read the entire text outlining UCP priorities

The following is the speech from the throne, read Wednesday in the… Continue reading

Canada’s Rebecca Marino drops second-round French Open qualifying match

PARIS — Canada’s Rebecca Marino fell just short in a second-round qualifying… Continue reading

Most Read