Posts Tagged ‘Paul Martin’

Leaving Afghanistan

July 7th, 2011
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Lets not kid the troops. There’s lots of reasons for the Canadian military to be in Afghanistan: Women, buried in burkas and hidden behind dark drapes indoors, were losing their teeth due to lack of vitamin D when Canadian troops first arrived. Girls were not allowed to go to school. Human rights were non-existant.

troopsAnd none of that counts.

Canada went to Afghanistan because it was a breeding ground for terrorists. The 9/11 hijackers, mostly Saudi’s, got their training in Afghanistan. The Taliban were suddenly a threat to our national security. The decision was made that we were going to have to fight those terrorists, either here or there. Canada, and the government of Jean Chrétien, chose there.

It was a controversial decision for Chrétien. The left didn’t want us to fight anybody, anywhere. The right felt Chrétien was throwing all we had at Afghanistan so he could take a miss on Iraq. But Afghanistan was the right fight.

Paul Martin later committed the Canadian Forces to Kandahar after Chrétien had moved them to the safer ground of Kabul. In his memoirs, Chrétien blamed Martin with dithering causing the Canadian’s to be moved to the more dangerous area:

Later, unfortunately, when my successor took too long to make up his mind about whether Canada should extend our term with the International Security Assistance Force, our soldiers were moved out of Kabul and sent south again to battle the Taliban in the killing fields around Kandahar.

Whatever the reason, Canada’s casualty count rose, and reports of battlefield death became far too common.

Canada lost 157 soldiers in  the Afghanistan battle, including Pte. William J. Cushley, whom this blog has honoured since 2006.  Cushley, just 21, was killed in operation Medusa on Sept 3, 2006.

Today, the Canadian combat troops begin leaving Afghanistan, winding up Canada’s operation in this ten year war.  They have done a very difficult job, they have paid a startling price to do that job, and they have done the job well and honourably.

God Bless the troops as they return to their families and lives.

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Go Count Go!

March 26th, 2011
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The scene unfolds easily in front of you. The Government has fallen, a minority Parliament ends in a vote of non-confidence. The governing party is reeling from scandal, yet the polls say the election will end much as it began, with the current Prime Minister returning to Ottawa with a minority mandate. Radio shows ask the question: why would the opposition force an election they can’t win? Why waste this money on a vote that will end in the same Parliament as it began?

The leader of the opposition was on the defensive. Canadians don’t want this election, don’t need this election. His patriotism had already been called into question and he was gaffe prone. On day one of the campaign he makes, the media assert, another gaffe. Without prompting, without a clue, he says there will be a free vote on gay marriage in the house under his government.

Why, why would Stephen Harper give such a gift to Paul Martin? Why would he make it about his scary agenda instead of Paul Martin’s corrupt, bag of money under the table, Liberals?

In reality, what that statement did was take the question of gay rights out of the debate. It took from the Liberals the, “those scary Conservatives and their hidden agenda want to take away your human rights,” attack. It saw what was coming, and neutered it. It was a well thought out strategy, and served warning that the Conservatives were ready and serious about the 2005/06 campaign.

They ran a brilliant campaign focusing on five core policies and announcing one new policy initiative every day. They were lean, they were direct, and they spoke to voters with simple policies that resonated. And when the going got tough, when the very nasty Liberals personally attacked, they ignored it and stayed on message. It worked, and the Conservatives won.

Now the roles are reversed, the Conservatives have the dirt of governance on their hands, the attack ads, the scandals involving accounting tricks with their own money. Things are so bad in Ottawa, even Jack Layton is indignant. Yet the polls say the Conservatives will be back, probably with a minority. Why would the opposition risk so much?

Like Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff is going to answer to charges he has a scary hidden agenda. In Harper’s case it was a social conservative agenda. In Ignatieff’s, it is the question of forming a coalition that includes the Bloc. It is there, it will be in the ads, and Ignatieff had better answer the question directly and honestly right off the bat.

Day 1:

  • blue serge suit dry cleaned – check
  • non-confidence voted – check
  • have answer to sticky question ready…

There is a blue door, there is a red door. We’re gonna elect a Liberal Government.

Here’s a hint Mr. Ignatieff. The answer to every single question you ever get asked in politics is not a quote from Go Dog Go!

Day 2:

Someone please, get on the phone and explain to the Count that it is a yes or no question: If the Conservatives get a plurality, but not a majority, will you enter into a coalition with the NDP and Bloc? Yes/No.

And here’s a tip, the right answer is no. The worst answer is, “The light is green now, Go Dogs Go!”

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Parrish the Thought

April 15th, 2010

“You appeared ungrateful, ungracious and downright rude,” Ms. Parrish told the Mayor 

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In All Thy Senators Command

March 11th, 2010

If you were wondering where the impetus for changing the words to the National Anthem came from, wonder no more. It comes from – ahem – Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth, who has been pushing the Prime Minister for a gender neutral anthem. And like all good social activists, she doesn’t actually take no for an answer:

…it’s not politically expedient. But it will come up again because there are thousands and thousands of women out there who want it to come up again.

Singer Nancy Ruth, who is not a Canadian Senator

I would rather hear Singer Nancy Ruth(above) perform the anthem.

Oh, there’s thousands and thousands are there? In a country of 35 million people that’s a part of a whole percent, so yea, go ahead.

Who is this Senator Ruth anyway? (Doesn’t that sound like the name of a snack food – “Senator Ruth Brownies available now at Mac’s“?) The Senator for Ontario was elected to the position in 2005 –  haha, just kidding. The Senator twice stood for election as a Progressive Conservative to the Ontario Legislature, in 1990 and 2003 (note: the Conservative senator seems to have skipped the Mike Harris years). Thousands and thousands voted for somebody other than her and she lost both times. Undeterred by minor inconveniences like the will of the people, she got herself appointed Senator in 2005 by Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin (recommended by Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty, we presume).

In her spare time she founded the Women’s League Educational and Action Fund, and a women’s Studies Chair at Mount Saint Vincent University. It’s tempting to suggest the only way she has a conservative bone in her body is in the Belinda Stronach sense of the phrase, but as Canada’s first openly lesbian Senator, even that seems unlikely.

Lets be clear about the national anthem. It is your anthem. It is my anthem. As I began to suggest last week, it is not the politicians anthem to change. It is not for Stephen Harper to tell us the words, and it sure as hell is not for Senator Nancy Ruth. Sing it as you want to sing it, using whatever turn of phrase means something to you. If enough people do so, it will change organically, naturally. Not shoved down our throats by someone who thinks the words public servant are both descriptors of the unwashed masses. And, of course, as is often the case in feminist causes, the people pushing for change talk about equality, but really mean something different. Senator Ruth claims to want the words “in all thy sons command” changed to “thou doust in us command.” However, at this weeks Conservative caucus she pestered her colleagues to sing “in all thy daughters command.” With an ear for phrasing and melody like that, she should try a music lesson before critiquing any piece of music. The material point though, she doesn’t really want gender neutral, she wants the lyrics feminized.

This, ladies and gentleman, is the Senator who has your Conservative Prime Minister’s ear. Frankly, if this was the kind of person I wanted my PM taking advise from, I’d vote for Jack Layton.

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