Apparently, my last blogpost here was something of a bombshell. I think I've made it quite clear what I think Prime Minister Stephen Harper is doing wrong.
But I haven't yet made it clear how Harper should have handled the matter.
There's one thing Harper isn't wrong about: perception matters. Which is actually why, in making the decision to harangue Senator Mike Duffy -- a Senator he himself appointed to the upper chamber -- into repaying allegedly-ineligible expenses, he committed more than a simple error.
It's because perception matters that issues such as the one confronting Harper over Duffy and his colleagues Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau should have been handled in the open through due process, and should have been seen handled in the open via due process. The only role Harper should have had any point in this entire sad affair was calling a public inquiry to sort through the allegations against Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau and sort through the explanations each has -- none of which I find to be tacitly incredible, one way or the other.
That's exactly how the PMO should have handled the entire matter as well. And while Nigel Wright may or may not have acted without Harper's knowledge -- my opinion is that he likely did -- he was acting within Harper's stated wishes. It was Harper's desire that this go away quietly instead of the requisite questions being answered through due process that drove Wright to act as he did.
No one can argue that Harper isn't responsible for the actions of the PMO. Even if he didn't know what was going on -- the absolute least of which was Wright's cheque -- he should have. After issuing a directive that the Senate scandal be made to go away quietly, he should have checked up on exactly what was being done to make it happen. Of course, even this never should have happened, because Harper never should have even been so involved.
And now that Harper has been so involved he's attempting to roll on everyone else involved. He's changed his story on Wright so many times in so many ways that it's nearly impossible to keep track of it all.
He did it to himself, seemingly out of nothing more than a disdain for letting the matter be handled through due process out of the fear -- the mere fear -- of due process. And it may now be too late for him to turn back.
\Over this one comparatively inconsequential issue he's managed to lend fire to one of the left-wing Twitterverse's most impotent slogans; for the first time, Prime Minister Harper must resign.