Monday, November 4, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Monday, November 4, 2013

Rob Ford joins Mike Duffy as Stephen Harper ‘distractions’: Tim Harper

It was barely a month ago, with allegations hanging over Rob Ford, that Stephen Harper took the highly unusual step of arranging a photo op with the Toronto mayor — on a Sunday — to pre-announce subway funding.

This prime minister just doesn’t do Sunday photo shoots with mayors. Except this one.

Harper must have known he was taking a risk inviting cameras to record this unusually high profile grip-and-grin, a two-step of mutual celebration followed the next morning with a full announcement with Ford beaming at Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

With the news Thursday that police have the infamous video that appears to show Ford smoking crack cocaine, it is fair to question Harper’s judgment in so eagerly courting his fishing and barbecue buddy, the man who gave the prime minister the big bear hug and thumb’s up on the eve of the 2011 federal election.

So, move over Mike Duffy.

You are not the only “distraction” hanging in the air as Conservatives gathered Thursday for their mid-term convention here.

Harper and his office made the bet in September that cozying up to Ford again was okay because they had clearly determined there were no more nuclear missteps looming for a mayor whose support they wanted again in 2015.

They lost that bet.

Harper also appeared to bet that a cornered Duffy would not fight back with his own allegations and documents in the ongoing Senate debacle.
Alexander Lisi’s lawyer speaks to the media
Another bet lost.

Now Harper appears to be betting that his former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, will remain quiet as the prime minister drags his name through the muck. (Source: Toronto Star)

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