What took so long?
Political commentators have many synonyms for "I don't know" ... one is "time will tell" and another is "there are more questions than answers here." And given about how little was said about the departure of Helena Guergis from cabinet and caucus yesterday, the question-to-answer ratio in this case is rather large. I'll throw out some, mostly revolving around process or optics:
1. If the Star's ace reporter, Kevin Donovan, was able to find out all he did about events surrounding Mr. Jaffer's arrest and "business" dealings, why couldn't the government? Wouldn't you think that government lawyers or even some of that huge communications bureau in the PMO would high-tail it down to Southern Ontario and ask some questions of their own? Like -- "Is there anything here that could hurt the government?" It has been seven or so months since Jaffer's arrest.
We're not talking simply about political embarrassment here, spin control or keeping up appearances. If it was only on Thursday night that Harper discovered something about Ms. Guergis that required RCMP intervention, what has the government been doing up to now to protect the integrity of cabinet and government? Couldn't someone have taken some time out of all that recalibrating, proroguing, etc. to see whether institutional interests had been compromised?
2. I'm curious too why Mr. Jaffer's website and its use of Conservative logos only became problematic for the government on Thursday. When we reporters put something online that the PMO finds distressing, it takes approximately 10 minutes after it's posted for the phone calls to start. Again, seven months after the arrest, more than a year since he became an ex-MP and husband to a cabinet minister, and no one thought to take a glance at what he was peddling? Kady O'Malley tells me that she made mention of the Conservative logos on his website several months ago (can't find the link). If they weren't going to check for themselves, wasn't that a tip enough?
It all begs the larger question of due diligence from a government that has constantly shown an obsession with controlling the message -- at least superficially. Someone, though, was clearly too preoccupied or maybe too confident in PMO spin abilities to seriously look into matters in this affair that had direct bearing on the government. Or maybe they've forgotten the first rule of politics -- it isn't your enemies who will do you in, it's your friends.