It is in the finest traditions of the state to punish harshly those on the periphery of a thing while the main players skate.
I think here of how Ontario went after both an author (Stephen Williams) and a lawyer (Ken Murray) who were on the fringes of the sordid Paul Bernardo/Karla Homolka murder case, while at the same time treating Homolka as the delicate flower-cum-victim of abuse she never was.
Williams, who wrote two books eviscerating the government for its conduct of the Homolka file, was prosecuted both civilly and criminally in an attempt to decimate him; Murray was charged with child pornography offences, later dropped, in an effort to blacken his good name.
Yet that same government was unable to muster either the political will to go after Homolka with anything approaching the same vigour.
And now this — the news from federal ethics commissioner Mary Dawson that Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff breached the federal Conflict of Interest Act when he acted to repay Senator Mike Duffy’s questionable expenses.