Apparently, the Manley panel is set to launch a website, to solicite opinions from Canadians:
John Manley's Afghanistan panel is setting up a website to take written submissions from the public, the head of a Canadian development group said Saturday.
The panel has said it had no plans for public hearings, but Gerry Barr, president of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, said the website will allow for public input.
Barr and representatives of about a dozen other Canadian aid groups met Manley and his panel on Saturday. They were told an Internet site will be running soon and will accept comments and recommendations.
"Plainly, if they put their address on the website and ask for submissions, they're going to get them from the general public," Barr said.
I can't wait to leave a comment, and I suggest other people do the same. It makes sense to solicite the opinion of ordinary Canadians, because after all, we have just as much expertise, or lack thereof, to speak on the subject as the panelists. I guess a quick draft of my thoughts would go something like this:
I'm sure the panel is aware that the average yearly income for a Afghan citizen is $260 dollars. Given the fact that the Prime Minister has already articulated his vision for the future mission in Afghanistan, rendering the supposed four options considered irrelevant, do you worry that the complete lack of credibility the panel enjoys comes at taxpayer expense?
Mr. Manley is being paid $1400 dollars a day, the other four in the neighbourhood of $800. Rough math, around $5000 a day, $25000 a week just for the panelists. The panel is too conclude at the end of January, which is roughly 15 weeks, with some holiday time included. That translates to around $375000 just to cover the five member panel. I understand some office space has been rented, obviously the website, staff for each of the panelists, travel expenses for hearings, surely a trip to Afghanistan, overhead, mundane expenses, etc, etc. Just to hazard a guess, it seems reasonable to assume the overall cost of this exercise will run into the millions. Let's just say 3 million, which is probably conservative, for arguments sake.
Back to my original comment, at a per capita income of $260 for Afghans, your panel's expenditure is the equivalent of 11538 Afghans total yearly income. I guess the question for the panel, is a public relations exercise, which has already been undercut by the government, panned by the opposition, held in suspision by the media, an efficient use of taxpayers money, when the money squandered could be used to influence the lives of the people we claim to protect? I recommend the panel immediately disband, and dismiss the vanity exercise that amounts to nothingness, then asks the government to re-direct the propaganda money to Afghanistan, with full knowledge that it will contribute to the ultimate goal the panel supposedly ponders.