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Dunn

Harper unmoved by Senate drama

Mark Dunn. (Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

By Mark Dunn, Senior National Reporter

OTTAWA — No matter how you cut it, the Senate hangman is on standby to carry out the public execution of three condemned senators accused of ripping off taxpayers by lining their pockets with inappropriate expense claims.

There will be no reprieves despite the mumblings of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's general in the Senate, who awkwardly suggested Friday that some form of leniency is possible for Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau.

Harper won't settle for anything less than three heads on spikes to appease angry Tories at next week's party convention in Calgary. He wants the channel flipped to the economy and a European free-trade deal he's chomping to exploit.

There will be no soft landing for his appointees, despite some reservations on Conservative benches about the kangaroo court taking place inside the unelected Senate Hall of Shame.

Harper's resolve was evident in interviews he gave after a week of high drama and emotional pleas by the trio not to be suspended without pay and benefits.

"There will be appropriate action taken that, frankly, removes them from the public payroll," Harper told Newstalk 1010. "It is beyond the shadow of doubt that these senators, in some cases, have collected literally up to six figures of ineligible expenses — did so willingly over a long period of time."

Harper was not moved by the theatre, the lack of due process and the constitutional farce that has gripped this town amid allegations his office conspired to commit bribery and extortion in the case of Duffy.

So what if two of his fiercest defenders — senators Marjory LeBreton and Carolyn Stewart Olsen — had starring roles in what could be described as an adult version of Mean Girls for waging what Wallin lamented were personal vendettas because they were jealous of her popularity?

Wallin said the pair set out to destroy her through a series of damaging leaks about her travel bills — allegations the tag team, of course, denied.

Harper was so unmoved by Wallin's account he didn't block LeBreton's promotion Friday to sit on the Senate's most powerful committee.

He wants the mess to fade and send a message that if you use the treasury as a personal piggy bank, you'll pay the ultimate price.

All that's left for Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau is for the nooses to be tightened and the trap door to be opened.

That could come mid-week.

 


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