During the final days of the 2008 Canadian federal election campaign, the Liberals were starting to climb in the polls. Stephen Harper had not done well in the debates and Climate Change was increasing as an election issue.
According to Nik Nanos
The fallout from the French and English debates shows the previous pre-debate 10 point Conservative margin is now four percentage points. Tracking shows incremental movement in favour of the Liberals and Stephane Dion. Dion registered his highest score as the person Canadians think would make the best Prime Minister.Stephen Harper was in trouble and he knew it. Attacks on the carbon tax were losing traction, and his "bubble campaign" was about to burst.
Enter CTV and Mike Duffy. (Insert drum roll)
In the now infamous interview with Stephane Dion, Steve Murphy, an anchor with CTV Atlantic, presented a question that many linguists have called convoluted at best, and intentionally crafted at worst. I believe the latter to be true.
The French speaking Dion, who is also hearing impaired, struggled to make sense of Murphy's verbal diarrhea, asking several times to start again. Murphy assured the Liberal leader, that he would be afforded the same courtesy as many others who needed restarts, and that the "out takes" would not be broadcast. He lied.
Tripping over themselves for headlines, CTV included them in their nightly news.
Mike Duffy used the incident as a panel topic on his program, mocking Mr. Dion and steering the conversation away from his defense, and toward simply sticking it to him. Days later Stephen Harper won his second minority.
However, the stunt pulled by Duffy, Murphy and CTV had a more dire affect. Not more dire than being stuck with Harper for another term, but Canadian democracy was struck another serious blow. The Liberal votes did not go to the Conservatives, or even the NDP. Instead those voters simply decided to stay home on election night.
The players, Mike Duffy and Steve Murphy, were charged by the CRTC with ethics violations. Yet Murphy was given a rare one-on-one interview with Stephen Harper, and Duffy a Senate seat, along with CTV board member, Pamela Wallin.
Early Warning Signs
Many in the media were aware of how badly Mike Duffy wanted a Senate seat. A once respected journalist, he had become little more than a gossip monger, willing to prostitute himself for the chance to sit in the coveted Chamber. They even nicknamed him The Senator.
So his manipulation of the "news" to worm his way into the good graces of Stephen Harper, came as no surprise to them. They would finally be afforded an opportunity to expose the scam, when just a few months later, Duffy's expense claims would be brought into question.
NDP MP Peter Stoffer, drew attention to the fact that Duffy had racked up $44,000 in travel costs in just three months. Odd, given that much of his travel was for speaking engagements on behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada, for which he charged a fee.
Duffy was livid and called Stoffer a "faker", prompting Don Martin to write a piece, Mike Duffy Jumps the Shark.
It takes considerable effort to become a complete embarrassment. Congratulations Senator Mike Duffy, you've finally done it.Duffy's on air political views were already becoming increasingly right-wing, perhaps recognizing that hitching his wagon to the Conservative Movement would be better for his career.
With his wild rant on a CBC national politics show this week, the television icon has accomplished the difficult feat of offending all those in his parliamentary orbit -- his former journalistic occupation, the Conservative party, senators, MPs and even the prime minister who appointed him ....
...Now, Duffy calling someone a faker equals pot calling the kettle black. This is the same Duffy who, as host of his own politics show, presented himself for decades as journalistically neutral, then accepted Harper's $130,000 appointment ten months ago and now devotes his energies to shamelessly shilling for the Conservatives.
That's the definition of fakery for you, particularly given he was appointed after airing that infamous CTV interview with then-Liberal leader Stephane Dion, a bumbling performance credited by some as the turning point of the 2008 election campaign for Stephen Harper.
In 2004, when there was concern over a coalition attempt by Stephen Harper, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe, that would have made Harper Prime Minister then, Duffy was one of the few to hail this as a good thing.
On the day in October 2004 when Mr. Martin’s government delivered its throne speech, CTV journalist Mike Duffy — later appointed by Mr. Harper as a Conservative senator — reported that some Conservatives saw the Liberals’ troubles as a chance to make Mr. Harper prime minister. “It is possible that you could change prime minister without having an election,” Mr. Duffy said on CTV on Oct. 5, 2004. “If you could put Stephen Harper — and this is some of the thinking of Conservatives — in 24 Sussex Drive, even for five or six months without an election, it would make the Conservative option much more palatable to Canadians because they’d see that they don’t have horns and a tail.”Unfortunately, it would turn out that he did in fact have horns and tail. In 2004, Canadians were concerned with his threats to Public Healthcare and our Charter of Rights. Touché.
But Duffy was now true blue, hitting the circuit with neocon diatribe against anything remotely liberal, even warning journalism students not to read Noam Chomsky, for fear they might be inflicted with critical thinking. The horror!
When They Fall They Fall Hard
Now Mike Duffy is facing 31 criminal charges of fraud and breach of trust, despite enormous efforts by the PMO and Conservative Party, to sweep this under the rug; including money to pay for his defense.
What were they afraid of? Surely not just the scandal. They were already facing enough scandals to sink their ship.
However, well aware of Duffy's penchant for gossip and need to stay in the limelight, they were probably afraid of what he already knew and what he would share, and indeed, he has promised to do just that.
There is already overwhelming evidence that Harper knew of the Duffy payoff, just as he knew of the Cadman payoff, and Porter's criminal record. A continuation of controlling everything but being accountable for nothing.
Besides dreaming of a Senate seat, however, Duffy also had designs of one day being awarded the Order of Canada. Says former drinking buddy, Linden MacIntyre:
“Mike developed ‘host’s disease,’ ... That's where you start to believe all the flattery, believe you’re bigger than the story. The affliction gets worse, the head swells up and anything that threatens your celebrity becomes a problem.”Duffy now has a very big problem, and instead of ending his career in glory, he will be remembered as a "faker", a fraud and a cheat.
But he will not be alone.