Baird takes over for Harper at home
Harper before he left for Latin America
Stephen Harper yesterday left Canada for Peru and Colombia for the rest of the week, thus avoiding having to defend his government in the Senate spending scandal crisis.
There's an old saying: When the going gets tough, head for Peru.
And then on to Colombia. There are trade talks later this week. Usually a foreign minister goes to those things.
However Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will be busy in Ottawa this week playing prime minister in the Commons, trying to come up with credible explanations for the $ 90 000 former Harper chief of staff Nigel Wright paid out to Senator Mike Duffy to keep his mouth shut.
On Tuesday, Harper called a special caucus meeting of MPs and senators but never said much about the payoff scandal. He spent most of his time talking about integrity, transparency and accountability
Reporters kept shouting questions at Harper from the back of the room which Harper ignored while his caucus tried to drown the press. The scene was disgraceful.
In the Commons, Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair said that the only way to and find out what really happened is to call in the RCMP to undertake a full investigation.
Speaking to his caucus Harper described the scandal nothing more than a "distraction" of the sort that happens from time to time and went on and on praising his government rather than addressing the scandal.
This is how a prime minister describes his chief of staff giving $ 90,000 to Senator caught with his hand in the bag.
And Senator Duffy says has been told "to keep my silence."