Thursday, January 24, 2008

They Know Nothing

Are you kidding me? According to reports last night the government knew nothing of the decision to stop turning over Afghan detainees in November of 2007.

This government? Our government? The government led by a man who has to approve all and everything that is uttered by a Minister or backbencher? Are we really meant to believe that they had no idea of what the actions were being taken by the military as it relates to a policy decision as important as this?

Well, I don't find it plausible but if in fact that is true, the news is even more grim. If they didn't know, they should have. In April of last year Harper announced the new deal that allowed Canadian officials full access to detainees. Such an agreement implies that Canadians would be provided with the truth. However, in July we learn that Hillier put a stop to the release of any news of detainees through the Access to Information Act. Though problems continued to surface, the government never did anything to clear them up with facts.

By stating that they didn't know suggests to me that this is a government that is not focused on the broad issues of governance in terms of Foreign Policy. It reinforces that they are more concerned with partisanship and sound bite politics. After 2 years in power, they still seem to have no sense of what it is to run a country, ideology aside.

As I said, I do not believe they did not know. This morning Dr. Amir Attaran who really started this whole investigation, said that an e-mail associated with this latest revelation had PCO in the address line. Could PCO know and not tell the PMO? I suppose it's possible but it makes no sense.

Conservatives like to remind Liberals that we exaggerate when we speak of the damage that this government is doing to this country. This particular incident is rather an odd example because on the one hand it's a good news story. The detainees were removed as they should have been. On the other hand however it's a glaring example of what a tentative grip this government has on its responsibilities, the departments it oversees and the policy they put forward. The only issue they seem to have an iron grip on is message control.

When you consider how often Ministers and the PM were up in the House, telling Canadians what we now know were lies, knowingly or not, that is dangerous. Canadians have been given a message, ad nauseum, that the opposition parties were ill informed. It clearly shows that this government has no respect for our system and rather than getting to the bottom of what the opposition is raising as a problem, they spend their time trying to make the opposition look bad at the expense of the very serious issue before them.

I hope this does not fly under the radar as so many stories seem to. There is precious little coverage for those who do not pay attention to politics, local radio coverage etc., but perhaps that will change when the House returns.

As an aside, this story also reinforces to me that the Manley panel did not go into depth on this very important aspect of our mission in Afghanistan.

In an e-mail to The Globe and Mail on Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's communications director, Sandra Buckler, said the military did not tell the government about the suspension.

Ms. Buckler called Friday to say she “misspoke” but would not say whether the military had or had not informed the government.

“I should not have said what I said to you, I misspoke, and I wanted to make sure you were aware of that,” she said. “I made a mistake…what I said was wrong.”

When asked whether that meant that the military had informed the government that the transfer of prisoners to Afghan jails had been suspended in November, Ms. Buckler would not comment.

“I shouldn't have said it and I'm not going to comment on operational decisions made by the military,” Ms. Buckler said.

Huh? This is a very clear example of how so many of the Conservatives never respond to a question. They are the masters of the non seqitur.

Obviously not all is well in Harper-land.

More - This just keeps getting weirder.


RuralSandi said...

Sure doesn't pass the smell test does it?

Another attempted snow job to get rid of Hillier perhaps - just like Linda Keen?

Didn't Peter MacKay inquire and check things out when speaking to Hillier? Oh, I forgot, he's just there for photo-ops.

Seems to me that every file Harper and his gang of bozos touch ends up in a mess and they were aware of anyting and somehow they'll make it the Liberals' fault.

Ryan said...

Ugh, I thought Harper thought he was smarter than this. "We didn't know" is such a puny cop-out.

So much for Harper's image as a skilled manager. Aren't managers responsible for their employees, regardless of whether they knew or not?

knb said...

Sandi, it's just very odd. I just added another update. Dion knew from his trip to Afghanistan so it's impossible to believe that Harper didn't know much earlier.

Also, if Dion knew what is up with Manley's report that barely touches on the issue. Maybe they knew too?

It tells me that the military, true to form are honourable and not about to play political games.

I'm not sure yet how Hillier fits in. Maybe your right though.

knb said...

ryan, all Harper manages is the image of his party and from a distance, the image of his opponents.

It's ironic really. He takes these really long breaks between sessions in an effort clean up the damage incurred during the last one, then inevitably, something like this crops up just before they resume.

Ryan said...

I guess Harper is just doomed to be stuck in middle management--the middle of another pathetic scandal, that is.

Anonymous said...

"He takes these really long breaks between sessions.."

Exactly. All the better to put his personal stamp on his supporters, collect a few more dollars, and try to assure himself of a few more bought and paid for votes.

Perhaps Harper overstepped his bounds trying to blame/smear the Canadian Forces by insinuating that they weren't up to snuff.

Harper better know what he's doing: patting the CF on the head, then turning around and giving them a wedgie.

What sort of leader does this?

I know, A BULLY!

How long does such a 'Leader' last? Just as long as someone who dares to stand up to him. Harper 'misspoke' when he said he was standing up for Canada. What he really meant is that he was standing up in Canada's face, giving Canada a raspberry, and daring Canada to do anything about it.

Harper's psychic makeup maven might have given Harper a talking to, perhaps a parable about the Emperor With No Clothes. Perhaps she tried. Like most things that Harper does behind the curtain, Canadians will never know.

May this issue be the one that takes him out.

This Canadian is tired of seeing the lips flap and nothing constructive come out; and the lipstick is not helping!

ottlib said...

LOL knb.

When I read your headline I had an immediate image of Sgt Schultz from Hogan's Heroes.

And thinking about it he does seem to represent how this government likes to approach controversy.

knb said...

Well I glad someone finally got it, lol.

I was going to spell it more phonetically, but because the issue was serious I decided not to.

I guess we're showing our age.