Is Wright-Duffy the Grey Cup of Tory scandals?

It’s hard to get football out of the brain after Sunday's Grey Cup, so we figured we’d bring football to politics to help make sense of the ever-growing Senate scandal.

First, though, congratulations to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, winners of the 2013 Grey Cup. It must have been sweet, after the team’s too-many-men-on the-field penalty that robbed the Riders of the 2009 Grey Cup. Speaking of 2009 and getting robbed, the Conservative government has lost track of $3.1 billion meant to fight terrorism between then and now.

But back to the Senate scandal. Here are five plays in football to explain the current mess in which the Conservative government finds itself.


This is perhaps the political understatement of the year, but you could call the decision by Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright to cut a $90,000 cheque to Mike Duffy, a Harper appointee to the Senate, a fumble.

In football, a fumble often leads to a turnover, which often leads to your opponent scoring points. With the release last week of a court document that included incriminating emails from the Prime Minister’s Office showing a backroom deal to whitewash a Senate report into Duffy's spending (among other things), the Opposition is running up the score.


A defensive blitz is the attempt by the defence to send at least one more player rushing the passer than there are blockers, looking for an unblocked path to the quarterback. Does it feel like the PMO initiated a blitz on Wright over the weekend? The PMO told the press that Wright misled Harper back in March when he personally edited a memo to update Stephen Harper on the Senate scandal.

Incomplete pass

A pass that falls to the ground without being caught is incomplete. It looks like Paul Calandra, the Prime Minister’s apologist in Question Period on all matters related to the Senate scandal, throws an incomplete pass every time he stands upin Question Period to defend Harper.


Are we about to see the Conservative quarterback tackled, with chatter growing louder about Harper's future?


Not if Stephen Harper’s new director of communications can stop the banter with a block — by impeding the opposition from reaching the ball carrier.

It looks like no cabinet ministers want to stand up and protect Harper. Over the weekend, that job fell to Jason MacDonald. He was all over the place — on radio, in newspapers and on television — to try to quelch a political problem for his boss. MacDonald wasn't even around when Wright cut the cheque and senior PMO staffers meddled in Senate business. Now he gets to be the blocker?

Photo: jordoncooper. Used under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 licence.

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