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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Monday, May 01, 2006

It's all in the context 
(en francais)

Just another one of those articles where they forget to add "left wing" in front of the Polaris Institute, in the same way they attach "right wing" to the C.D. Howe Institute or the Fraser Institute.
Ottawa fears losing control of Afghan mission, says Steven Staples
Apr. 30, 2006. 01:00 AM

These two decisions, not lowering the Peace Tower flag and denying access to the media, are best understood when taken together. Add Harper's insistence on vetting the outspoken Gen. Rick Hillier's speeches, and a pattern emerges.

This is a government worried that the mission in Afghanistan could get out of their control and become a huge political problem for the Conservatives — especially as pressure builds in anticipation of a decision to renew the mission before it ends in February 2007.

Polling has shown the public virtually split down the middle on whether Canadian troops should be in Afghanistan. No doubt, the Conservatives have figured out that the sight of flag-draped caskets and flags at half-mast are not going to help them win a majority in the next election, especially since they have staked so much of their agenda on the Afghanistan mission.

But if the Prime Minister thinks this ploy will work, he should ask that other politician who has tried it but still finds himself dragged down by an unpopular war: U.S. President George W. Bush.

Steven Staples is the director of security programs for the Polaris Institute, a public interest research group in Ottawa.

Denying access to the media - the article would like to leave you with the impression that the government is denying all access to the media, when this is not the case. The media have full access to the ramp ceremony in Afghanistan when the soldier's remains depart and have access to the funerals based on the families' wishes. The only part denied media access is the arrival in Canada.

As this weeks arrival proved, the airport at Trenton affords the media enough access from outside the base to actually film and photgraph the event. If the mantra is that the government wishes to hide something, obviously they are failing. If the real goal was to hide the event, as opposition politicians claim, it would most likely be conducted in the early morning hours and the planes postitioning on arrival would be such that no pictures could be taken from outside the base. This could very easily be accomplished. The media themselves have proved that they have access to film and photograph so we are left with what the real complaint is. They don't have 'special' access not available to the public.

Harper's vetting Hillier's speeches. Staples writes this as if it's a statement of fact
Hillier denies clearing speeches
Apr. 19, 2006. 04:31 PM
CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA — Canada's top general is denying a report that the new Conservative government asked to approve his speeches.

And Prime Minister Stephen Harper also says there's no move to censor Gen. Rick Hillier, chief of the defence staff.
I guess Staples doesn't read the very paper he writes for.

Some might ask what is this Polaris Institute that Staples works for and how does it operate?
Today, the Institute's program is developed in consultation with an advisory committee which is mainly composed of social movement activists working in this country and elsewhere around the world. The Polaris program operates on a decentralized model. A small secretariat located in Ottawa provides overall program direction.
Of course, no article written by the left wing these days would be complete without a gratuitous reference to George Bush. These continuing efforts to link Stephen Harper to George Bush are nothing more than a nuanced approach to continue the anti-Americanism that has pervaded our national dialogue for far too long.

Paul Synnott at 12:01 AM    | en francais | Go to Top|


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