Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ruby Chewsday

I'm clearly running out of ideas for titles. Still, any excuse to post a Rolling Stones tune works for me:



It's very much as if parliament never went on vacation here in Canada. The Tories are still attacking and doing their best to smear Iggy who is having none of it. He seems to have a learned a thing or two in the past year. The Conservatives sent out a missive declaring Liberal, Jennifer Pollock’s comment on Twitter to be a smear of the entire Calgary Police force.

The Tories memo blathers on with the same kind of talking points they have employed since Iggy was made leader of the Liberal Party, “His failure to condemn this reckless policy baiting is unacceptable. Liberals are soft on crime. Mr. Ignatieff and his team are “not in it for our police officers. Not in it for Canadians. Only in it for themselves. Mr. Ignatieff, who is on a summer tour of the country, “does not stand up to embarrassing candidates.” 

It's trite and didn't seem to bother the opposition a whit. They noted first, that Jennifer Pollock was ‘re-tweeting’ a resident's comment to make to case for the proper resourcing of Calgary's finest – it is budget time in Calgary. And then fired back a shot across the bow of their own, “So, nice try to change the channel from all the bad news the Conservatives are creating (census scandal, $16 billion dollars sole-source contract, employment equity debacle, etc.), but this is not it.” The Liberal official says it’s a bit rich to be accused of “smearing by the master smearers.”

There's been fallout in Canada over the leaked military records from Afghanistan. They suggest that the four Canadians, reported killed fighting the Taliban in a major offensive called Operation Medusa, were in fact slain by a U.S. friendly fire. The Harper government, who initially refused to comment on the 92,000 leaked U.S. and NATO documents posted on the Internet by WikiLeaks denied on Monday that the deaths had been caused by a US military mistake.

“At all times the Canadian Forces have been open and forthright with the families of our fallen soldiers and the Canadian public about the circumstances relating to death in Afghanistan,” said Jay Paxton, an aide to Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

Rick Hillier, Canada's former top soldier questions the WikiLeaks account of what happened that day, explaining that first accounts on the battlefield were rarely accurate -- which is essentially what the WikiLeaks report is. Jack Layton was a little more skeptical of the government's account noting, Harper's Conservative government has already shown an unwillingness to disclose information about Afghan detainee transfers despite allegations the detainees faced torture at the hands of Afghan officials. "I think there's a lot of concern about transparency and openness with this government..."

For better or worse, the Globe and Mail agrees that the Afghanistan war needs more transparency and of the leaked documents concludes, ...the WikiLeaks documents are improving our understanding of a long and difficult war. If governments were more forthcoming about the true nature of the Afghanistan mission, with all its flaws and in all of its complexity, the public would have less need for them.

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