Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Quote du Jour: Harper Cozies up to Stephane Dion

Following the news that the Liberals have offered a compromise amendment on the Afghanistan mission, Stephen Harper channeled Barack Obama's 2004 DNC speech during his press conference today.


...there is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America.


"I don't think it can be a Conservative mission or a Liberal mission. It must be a Canadian mission".

Of course, it was definitely a "Liberal mission" when it came to the Harper government defending its convoluted handling of the Afghan detainees who were allegedly tortured until the new Conservative government came in and saved the day with their new agreement. (Right.)

And it was a "Conservative mission" whenever any opposition member challenged the new Conservative government on anything to do with its handling of the mission because any questions were obviously coming from people who supported the Taliban, according to Harper and his bullies.

It's also a "Conservative mission" when the government hides behind never-ending secrecy and refuses to communicate appropriately with Canadians about what's really happening in Afghanistan, as the Manley report made clear.

But, suddenly, Steve has strong words of praise for the Liberals because he sees that they're willing to let Canadian troops stay in Afghanistan until 2011. (text of the Liberals' amendment)

Via The Star:

Missing from the Liberal amendment was a specific call for Canada to quit all offensive operations in Kandahar, which had been Dion’s consistent condition for any mission extension.

The devil is in that detail. How will the Canadian troops engage in the lofty goals outlined in the Liberal amendment without being involved in combat in Kandahar?

The Liberal leader told reporters that he had chosen to emphasize what the military can do in Afghanistan rather than impose restrictions on movements or operations.

Dion said it is up to military commanders on the ground to decide how to carry out the mission, but stressed that he believes another NATO country should take over so-called search and destroyoperations [sic] in Kandahar.

And just how likely is that? The Canadian government can't even get a promise from any NATO ally to send in 1,000 extra troops at this point. If Canada redefines its mission in the way the amendment states, who will take over? The loophole he's left open for the military to decide what its role needs to be is wide enough to drive a truck through. In other words, Harper is getting what he wants - a continuing combat role for Canadian troops.

Dion said he chose his words carefully to maximize the party’s chance for an agreement with the government “without compromising our principles.”

What "principles"? Canada's national interests, as expressed by Bill Graham when he recently said, "anything that adds to an American sense of security and puts Canada firmly on side as an ally translates into billions of dollars in benefit for Canadians"?

Money or altruism? Which is it, Dion?

As far as I'm concerned, Canadians can't be suspicious enough when we watch Stephen Harper cozying up to Stephane Dion over any issue. That has to set off alarm bells.

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