Monday, January 28, 2008

Coderre Says McKay Has 'Chronic Pinocchio Syndrome'

The approved PMO talking points about the bungled Afghan detainee situation were out in full force during Monday's Question Period as the Cons who spoke to the issue went to great lengths to again blame the Liberals for their "flawed" detainee transfer agreement that the Cons supposedly improved upon. (Remember when they said the Red Cross was monitoring those detainees and the Red Cross staunchly denied it?. So much for the Cons' assertions and so much for their defence.)

In response to one opposition member's question, Peter McKay pulled out this old line as well:

"We're not going to talk about the details...because that only helps the Taliban."

How, exactly? No one really knows, but it's a handy talking point that once again infers that the opposition parties are only interested in helping the Taliban and don't care about Canadian soldiers. What he fails to get, obviously, is that when allegations of torture result from the actions of our soldiers while his government completely mishandles the issue, he puts our soldiers at risk.

And Harper had the audacity to say, after being challenged with the point that even the secretive Bush administration announces its operational handling of detainees, that at least the Canadian government doesn't send its transfers to Gitmo. If that's what he thinks about Gitmo, why isn't he doing anything to free Omar Khadr from that gulag?

When confronted by Stephane Dion about the fact that those sacred "operational details" about the transfers were released to the court (in the case the BC Civil Liberties Association and Amnesty International are involved in surrounding these allegations) and not to the house, Harper had multiple choice answers. Initially, he said that is was revealed in court to "show clearly that the Canadian forces and authorities in the Canadian government at all levels always respect our humanitarian and international obligations". But, when pressed further by Dion who wondered aloud why information that is "good to be disclosed in court" isn't good to reveal to Canadians Harper said, "for their only legal reasons, the lawyers in that case chose to disclose this information". And that is exactly what did happen: the government's lawyers had no choice but to disclose it. It wasn't about them trying to show how wonderful we are. It was a court-mandated release of information.

On top of that, the current status of the agreement has now been muddied with Harper stating that the military has the "discretion" about whether to turn over detainees now. So, first the Cons stated the transfers had stopped and now they're saying that they haven't really. When pressed about where these detainees are now ending up, the government refused to respond. "Operational security", you see.

But the best line of the day went to Dennis Coderre who said McKay has "chronic Pinocchio syndrome". At the rate his nose is growing (along with the rest of his partisan liars), he'll soon end up poking somebody's eye out. In response to that accusation, McKay said, "Nobody has said that I had no information about what was happening...". Pardon me?

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 [of the transfer agreement].

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

Can you lie just a little bit more, Mckay?

Radwanski of the G&M reported this quote today from Harper's press conference during which he supported Manley's so-called "blue ribbon" panel on the future of Canada's role in Afghanistan:

"There has been no issue that has caused me as Prime Minister more headache, and quite frankly more heartache..."

Hmm...that sounds familiar:

During an interview on NBC's Today show Wednesday concerning Malaria Awareness Day, Laura Bush talked to Ann Curry about "other challenges her husband is facing."

"You know the American people are suffering watching --," Curry said to the first lady.

"Oh, I know that very much," Laura Bush responded. "And believe me, no one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this, and certainly the commander in chief, who has asked our military to go into harm's way."

Curry then asked, "What do you think the American public need to know about your husband?"

"Well, I hope they do know the burden, the worry that's on his shoulders every single day for our troops," Bush said. "And I think they do. I mean, I think if they don't, they're not seeing what the real responsibilities of our president are."

Pity the warmongers!

As Radwanski asked upon hearing the same kind of mush from Harper: "Who is this guy"?


When all else fails, channel Bush and hope it works. (You'd think Harper would take a look at Bush's approval numbers to see how effective that particular strategy is.) What's next? Dressing up like Commander Codpiece?

According to a new poll, it looks like the Conservatives might not even manage to keep the pathetic numbers they currently have if they continue to spin this issue the way they've been doing. One thing is certain: Harper's restrictive communications strategy, in which you couldn't pull the truth out of his ass with a tractor, is failing.

Photo credit: Canadian Press

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