Thursday, October 11, 2007


If this "announcement" isn't a transparent attempt to pacify voters on Afghanistan, I don't know what is:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will announce on Friday a five-person panel of prominent Canadians who will be tasked with coming up with a consensus on Canada's future role in Afghanistan, CTV has learned.

Insiders told CTV that Harper wants to take the partisanship out of the Afghanistan mission that has divided the country, especially as the death toll has risen over the past two years.

The panel will come up with options on the role Canada should play in the war-torn nation after the combat mission ends in February 2009.

The panel of high-profile Canadians is expected to include:

Former Liberal deputy prime minister John Manley

Derek Burney, Canada's former ambassador to Washington and former chief of staff to Brian Mulroney

Respected broadcaster Pamela Wallin, who was Canadian consul general in New York

Former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Jake Epp

Paul Tellier, former Clerk of the Privy Council and former president and CEO of Canadian National Railway and Bombardier

The panel may consider whether to withdraw or significantly reduce combat troops and replace them with CF-18 fighter jets at Kandahar airfield as the French are doing.

Harper wants to take the "partisanship" out of the equation, so he announces a panel of five, with three Tories, a Liberal who has been a firm supporter of the mission in the past and a former TV anchor for flavor. Non-partisan? Apart from that insult to the senses, do I really think Pamela Wallin is qualified enough to tell Canadians what we should do in Afghanistan?

This is a stunt, more than a real outreach, meant to diffuse the issue, heading into an election. I can just hear Harper now out on the road, telling everyone about his expert panel of non-partisans, his magnanimous approach. We are all fools if we buy into this marketing campaign.




Anonymous said...

What is John Manley doing in this panel?

This Liberal lurker is doing damage to Dion's leadership by showing up in these inopportune places.

It is all speculation of course, but his presence seems to be an omnipotent nuisance to Liberal renewal.

In_The_Centre said...

It may be a public gimmick Steve, but Ill tell you this, the Afghanistan issue has turned very divisive WITHIN the Liberal Party of Canada. Many long time members (not MP’s) are ready to give the big fu to party consensus in defense of what they see as their principled position and moral obligation to support the extension of the mission.

Also, leaks from some traditional NGO supporters suggest that their organizations are ready to endorse the CPC over Afghanistan. That would be a PR disaster for the LPC, which has traditionally been the heavyweight party for humanitarian rights, R2P and democratic development

The fact that Manley even accepted this position is a power signal in itself, as he still has significant influence within a strong wing of the party.

I don’t consider this a Dion leadership issue, this relates to fundamental soul searching within the party, and he is part of that debate.


wilson said...

Come on Steve, these are all good people, well travelled and knowledgable of how the world works outside of downtown Toronto.
Bonus, no military person.

It's an acceptable out for Dion.

Alison said...

"An acceptable out for Dion" is hardly the most important issue here.

John Manley : "The military action in Afghanistan is an act of self-defence that is being undertaken under the auspices of Article 51 of the UN Charter. The Taliban regime rejected the peaceful option, preferring instead to stand on the side of terrorism. Osama bin Laden himself has stated his intention to continue his campaign of terror. It is for these reasons that Canada is a member of a military coalition which, working within the bounds of international law, will continue to take action against the global terrorist threat.
Our obligations in the aftermath of September 11 extend well beyond Canada’s geographic limits. A key complementary objective through these last three months has been to provide assurance to our neighbour, to our allies and to our many global partners that our solidarity is as substantial as it is complete. "

OK, that leaves Pamela Wallin.

Ti-Guy said...

Why didn't they put Paris Hilton on the committee as well...y'know, to up the glam factor? Get her on there, and guaranteed the media will hype whatever the panel recommends.

wilson said...

After the report on CBC last night, I suspect Libs won't be using the ever fearful
'Harper would have had us in Iraq' theme.

Seems that Chretien duped Canadians into thinking he stood up to Bush and chose not to send Canadian troops into the Iraq war;
reality was,
Canadian troops were not wanted there,
Bush wanted us in Afghanistan....
Chretien said, ok boss

Anonymous said...

ITC: It is called buying access. NGOs need CIDA funds and this means cozying up to the Minister of International Development. So far both Josee Verner and Bev Oda have been quite accessible to them, not favouring Christian fundamentalist NGOs instead. Besides it keeps the government foreign aid budget low.

Ti-guy: Paris is going to be at the Government nightclub in Toronto. How about Pamela Anderson instead? Comes from that great military town of Comox.

Gayle said...

wilson - perhaps you could have watched the entire story - you seem to have missed the part where the Americans expected Canada to provide support by way of supplies and ships and Chretien refused. In other words - whether or not the US wanted Canada in Iraq, they were not going to get us.

I believe it was Harper who came out looking the fool - whining and complaining about Canada not supporting the US by sending troops. Heck - he even sent a letter to one of their biggest newspapers complaining about that.

I guess what you can do now is refute all the anti-Harperites who complain that if it were up to him we would have been in Iraq. :)

Anonymous said...

Chretien DID commit Canadian ships AND 100 special operations military personnel TO Iraq, as requested by Bush.

He just did not TELL Canadians about it and for some reason the Canadian media don't ask the hard questions when there is a Liberal government in power. Call it media/Liberal co-dependance or back scratching or collusion if you like.

Take a look at the backgrounds of Liberal appointed senators, ambassadors and Governor Generals. Anything stand out?

YUP! Media hacks who got their big fat reward for keeping us Canadians in the dark.

Now when it is Conservatives those same media have their magnifying glasses out looking for dust in corners that exist in their opwn Liberal minds.

I say we have been deceived. If there was an internet in the Chretien years this could not have happened.

Steve V said...

"Seems that Chretien duped Canadians into thinking he stood up to Bush and chose not to send Canadian troops into the Iraq war;
reality was,
Canadian troops were not wanted there,
Bush wanted us in Afghanistan....
Chretien said, ok boss"

Are you for real?


Maybe I'm missing something, but the Liberals aren't proposing we abandon Afghanistan after 2009. Arguing that our NATO allies need to pickup the slack, is hardly a divisive point. There have been many comments about a military component, just not in the present offensive configuration.


Manley was appointed because he gives the "Liberal" cover, but he basically shares the Harper view.

Steve V said...

"Now when it is Conservatives those same media have their magnifying glasses out looking for dust in corners that exist in their opwn Liberal minds."

Oh, the liberal media angle, how convienient, with no relationship to reality. Why don't you do a quick scan of who owns what in the print and television media. What is hilarious, the right picks up on a theme that was developed in the States, then they copy and paste the rallying cry here, without actually looking at the facts. If anything, there is a conservative bias in our media, to say liberal is frankly a testament to complete and utter ignorance.

Susan said...

Manley is a one of the leaders in the join Canada to the US movement and Pamela Whalin lives in the US. Manley is so far to the right that Harper should worry about the next vote for the con party leadership. What a mess!

wilson said...

It's an interesting read Steve:

'On the eve of the war, McCallum received new, more detailed information about these exchange officers. The military painted a picture for the minister of a benign, marginal group of people that should be of little concern to anyone.
What the minister did not know until later was that the most senior Canadian officer on exchange was a brigadier general, Walt Natynczuk, who was directly involved in planning the invasion of Iraq from the American headquarters in Kuwait.

(How could the Minister of Defence not know that Canadian military was involved in the PLANNING OF THE IRAQ WAR? Why did the Liberals hide this fact from Canadians)

Bye Bye Dipper votes.....

Steve V said...



burlivespipe said...

Yeah Wilson66,
you choose to believe who you want to and those of us without tinfoil on our heads and a koolaid cup in our hands will believe what we want to, OK?
Seems to me, no one has denied who penned that letter to the Wall St Journal those days, but funny how the author doesn't want to autograph it today...

Anonymous said...

Shame on John Manley.
He becomes a Harper enabler.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Certainly the make-up does sound slanted, although I do believe Pamela Wallin is somewhat centre-left although hardly an expert on the topic.

Manley is a Liberal and I don't doubt his commitment to the party but he is on the right of the party and is more likely to agree with Harper than other Liberals. Off course he is still an important part of our party as we succeed by being a big tent party, however this can hardly be called totally non-partisan as a right leaning Liberal is more likely to be sympathetic to the Conservatives than a left-leaning one.

Steve V said...


Harper was pretty shrewd to make Manley the face of the panel, because giving him the lead creates the sense of non-partisanship, even though the panel has a heavy slant.

SJ said...

I thought you might want to know that this post was featured on the show "Les Coulisses du Pouvoir" on SRC.

Go to and click on La Chronique de Sophie-Hélène Lebeuf.