OK, I thought I’d take this time to share some thoughts on Senate reform…ha ha, just kidding. No, the dam has finally broken and the bulk of the “explosive” testimony is now public.
I don’t think we’ll know what this means for a few days yet. Harper and Martin are in Rome right now so Paul is probably more concerned with the Pope's funeral than his own. Darrel Bricker was on CTV yesterday and made it clear that Ipsos-Reid will be doing some intense polling on this. In my mind, the magic number is 35. When the AG’s report broke last February, the Liberals bottomed out at 35%. If they fall much bellow this number, they’re in trouble and the opposition may be motivated to go to the polls.
A few of my initial reactions to this:
1. This is bad. There’s no way to sugar-coat it. Jean Brault is not the most credible witness but he seems to have a lot of documentation to back him up. And it looks like several people in the Liberal Party did hand out these contracts in return for kick-backs. It’s ugly and there’s no way around this. My gut reactions is that a lot of Canadians are going to say “enough is enough”. And, to be honest, I’m not sure how volunteers, myself included, will be able to respond to comments about that during the next election.
2. TDH is reporting that several high profile ministerial staff have recently been let go in Ottawa. I’ve been hearing the same thing over the past few weeks and the opposition hinted at this in Question Period today. As the media starts digging, this story is only going to grow and there are going to be new revelations every day about key people in Ministers X, Y, Z offices. Liza Frulla’s chief of staff has been implicated but she won’t be the last Minister to have staff implicated.
3. The PQ angle is interesting. The Conservatives used a lot of Question Period time asking about the Parti Quebecois’ involvement in this. Apparently the Conservatives are polling at 16% in Quebec. Maybe they smell a breakthrough. On the provincial scene, Mario Dumont must be grinning from ear to ear this morning. Hopefully it will also make it a lot harder for the separatists to use this as the launching pad for another referendum campaign.
4. Before people make too much out of this, it's the word of one man - a man on trial for a lot of messy crimes. There’s little that can be pinned directly on Jean Chretien or Paul Martin. If this is spun right (and I have my doubts it will be), this isn’t fatal. Mike Pearson still won, despite scandal-plagued years in office. The problem is, the onus is now on Martin to give Canadians a reason to vote for him whereas before it was up to Harper to do this.