Nothing like reading about the original 'Gate when your own government is awash in scandal. And not just any 'Gate-like scandal, either: an actual, honest to Gods election finance scandal.
The trouble with election finance scandals, of course, is that they tend to sound rather complicated and dull at first, even when dramatized by Redford and Hoffman. It's only when you start reading the first hand accounts of those who were directly involved that you begin to grasp just how calculated and cynical the actions of the Conservative Party were, and just how deeply they betrayed those who put their faith in them.
Take for example these affidavits from Joseph Goudie, former Conservative candidate for Labrador and his staff. Not only do they put lie to every single lame excuse and explanation put forward by Stephen Harper so far, but they add a certain... colour to an otherwise dry discussion of money transfers.
The one who was in the most direct contact with the representative from the national Conservative campaign office was Debbie Singleton, Goudie's campaign manager. Some choice excerpts from her affidavit (emphasis mine):
6. I was told by Mr. Hudson that the Conservative Party of Canada would be sending us money for advertising but that we would have to send the money right back to the Conservative Party of Canada.
7. Mr. Hudson said that the money would be used for national ads run locally.
8. Our campaign had just started and we had very little money and so I asked Mr. Hudson if I could use some of that money to advertise on local radio and in the local newspaper.
9. Mr. Hudson said no, that this money was for TV advertising and that we would have to pay for radio and newspaper ads ourselves.
10. I then asked Mr. Hudson if the TV ads would mention or in any way reference Mr. Goudie’s campaign. He said the TV ads would be generic and there would be no reference to Mr. Goudie.
11. To my knowledge, none of the television ads run by the Conservative Party of Canada during the election mentioned Mr. Goudie or his campaign either by spoken word or in writing.
22. This whole thing really bothers me. When I begged for help from the Conservative Party of Canada, they wouldn’t even reply to my emails. It appears to me that the only interest the Conservative Party of Canada had in our campaign was to use us as part of this scheme.
23. I had absolutely no reason to think or believe that there was anything wrong, or even questionable, about what Mr. Hudson told us to do. I simply followed instructions.
24. I feel awful that we were used in this fashion. If I was the victim of one of those email scams, I wouldn’t feel any more duped than I do now for having been innocently caught up in this matter.
The candidate himself only learned of the money transfers after the campaign was over. He was also disillusioned. From Joe Goudie's affidavit:
10. Throughout the campaign we had been looking for financial and political help from the National Conservative Party of Canada Campaign. It is bad enough that they gave us no help whatsoever but to now find out that the only thing we were good for was to be used by the Conservative Party of Canada, galls me to no end.
11. I am badly disappointed because I had faith in the Conservative Party of Canada and Mr. Harper. That’s why I ran in the first place.
12. This transfer in / transfer out scheme was the final straw for me. I have lost all faith in the Conservative Party of Canada and Mr. Harper. I was used by them.
There are, of course, some major differences between the In & Out Scandal and Watergate. One of the most significant being that while Nixon denied and covered up what he and his party did, Stephen Harper is practically bragging about it.
I'm not sure which is worse.
(H/T to James Curran)