Monday, January 28, 2008

Shocking...Harper Agrees To What He Said He'd Agree To

Well, I wonder who was surprised that Harper agreed with the report submitted by the Manley panel? He agreed with it in broad terms. I'm not certain what that means really except to say that there were no specifics offered on what action he intends to take.

So in the end his press conference told us very little, oh, except that he will continue to speak with Stephane Dion. What a concept in a minority government, consulting with the official opposition.

When asked if he would take the advice to be more transparent, his first impulse was to point out that that the report criticised both governments then said that his government had already taken steps to be more open. How he's done that is completely unclear to me. He did not answer questions about detainees from either reporters or in the House. Reporters were not asking for specific operational details, but that is how he responded. The question was when did he know about the change. Mr. Open, obfuscated as usual. How anyone can say with a straight face that they are going to be open and follow that comment with stonewalling is a mystery that I'm not ever going to solve.

Another comment that I found curious was that Harper said many of the recommendations that the report made have already been acted on. If that is the case, why did the panel find them necessary to include? What purpose did this report serve exactly? Oh yes, I remember. As Pamela Wallin said on QP over the weekend, it was designed to get Canadians on side with the mission. What better way than to impose conditions that are already being met? In other words, it's a sales pitch with a few scary sounding criterion. Anyone who believes that this government would accept those stipulations without knowing full well that they could be met, is smoking something better than I have ever heard of.

This entire exercise is a charade from start to finish. Watching how many are lapping it up is disturbing. I may be wrong, but I do not recall a reporter asking, "Prime Minister, do you have any assurances from any NATO country at this moment that they will provide troops and/or equipment?" or "Prime Minister, are you currently in negotiations with a NATO country to achieve those ends?" Actually, as I think about it, that second question may have been asked in a different way and I think he answered that no, he was not involved in a negotiation but he did say that he thought some discussion had gone on.

He also said that compliance with the demands outlined in the report would be needed before going to the House for a vote. So there is the clue. How quickly or slowly will the government begin the debate? If it's soon, it's an indication that they've had it sewn up for a while. If they wait, it either tells us that they haven't nailed it all down, or, it intimates that they are perpetuating the charade. Too cynical for you? Sorry, this government tends to have that effect on me.

So the Kabuki Theatre troupe that calls itself our government continues to sing and dance and it's audience continues to ask for encores. No one seems to care that plot doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Sad isn't it?

As a complete aside, but a follow up to my last post, I noticed something odd at the press conference. Between some of the first questions asked, Harper would strike a pose of sorts. Lean his head on his hands, put a fist under his chin, etc. When that happened, the photog's went nut's. To my eye, he seemed to notice that and when not taking a sip of water between questions, yep, he struck a pose. I admire his ability to follow the question while considering how he will look in print but, it's creepy.

Did I just somehow link Harper and Madonna?

Update - Steve has some new numbers that suggest that some of us are listenting. If that is sustained, I'll have more faith and less cynicism. We'll see.

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