It appears that the nine-year-long Harper honeymoon is over. His claim to lead a transparent, accountable and honest government lies in tatters.
Dean del Mastro, Harper’s spokesman on ethical behaviour, and characterised by Judge Lisa Camero last week as a liar and cheat, is going to jail. Michael Sona, enmeshed in the robocall scandal, is already there.
In addition, although they were either ignored or swept under the rug, other scandals have tainted Harper throughout his prime ministership.
As early as 2006, Minister of International Development, ‘Limousine Bev’ Oda committed herself to the culture of entitlement. On a government junket to London, England, she changed hotels from swanky to swankier and in the process charged us, among other things, $16 for a glass of orange juice.
In 2007, Globe and Mail reporter Graeme Smith researched for weeks the ‘mediaeval nightmare’ of Afghan prisons to which the Harper government had turned over Afghan prisoners captured by Canadian troops. He concluded that Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor and Prime Minister Harper systematically ‘evaded and denied’ any knowledge of ‘extrajudicial executions, disappearances, torture and detention without trial’ when questioned in parliament.
In 2008, Cabinet Minister Maxime Bernier’s behaviour, according to a NATO spokesperson, ‘tarnished Canada’s good reputation within NATO’s circles.’ Harper reinstated him to cabinet in 2011.
Also in 2011 it was reported that Bruce Carson, a longtime political acquaintance of Harper, policy analyst and troubleshooter, ‘with a history of fraud convictions’ (CBC News, April 7, 2011) was found guilty of influence peddling.
To bring us up to date there is the Wallin-Duffy-Brazeau Senate scandal.
However, last Friday, the Harper Conservatives praised the United States for their pledge of $15 million to fight government corruption. In Ukraine.