Wednesday, December 26, 2007

On deflection

Jeff covers Deceivin' Stephen's direct insult to Canadians in his interview on Afghanistan. But it's worth pointing out as well Harper's equally obvious indirect insult to the intelligence of the CP and its readers, as his answer to allegations that the Liebermanley panel's report is a foregone conclusion conspicuously fails to answer the actual concern:
Some critics have argued that Mr. Harper could have found no more hawkish a Liberal than Mr. Manley to lead the non-partisan panel. They suggest the panel has been rigged to give the Conservatives the answers they want to hear.

The Prime Minister bluntly dismissed the notion.

“We will get the report and look at it.”

He said he hopes Mr. Manley comes forward with a clear, immediate recommendation for the future of the mission. Beyond that, Mr. Harper wants to see a sense from the panel of where it sees Afghanistan going in general, regardless of the length of the Canadian deployment.
Not surprisingly, I have yet to see a single commentator express the slightest concern that the Cons wouldn't want to read Liebermanley's report or follow its recommendations. The problem which has been pointed out all along - and which has caused some of the leading critics of Canada's current role to decline to participate - is that the panel itself is obviously biased toward Harper's own position, meaning that the end product is meaningless from the standpoint of actually providing a thorough or balanced outlook on Canada's future role.

It seems highly unlikely that Harper is so clueless as to fail to recognize the distinction. Which means that his poor attempt to change the subject only highlights the fact that even he can't pretend to defend his cherry-picking of panel members - and offers yet another reason why Canadians have no reason to take seriously either the panel or the government which appointed it.

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