Author Topic: Another story that no one is talking about  (Read 1268 times)

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Offline GAP

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Another story that no one is talking about
« on: May 07, 2007, 09:34:00 »
Another story that no one is talking about May 03, 2007 James Travers
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Stories are powerful and no one tells self-flattering tales better than politicians. So there must be a reason why a Prime Minister in so much trouble over the treatment of Afghanistan prisoners isn't talking about how his government is imposing management order on a chaotic mission.

Admittedly the story Stephen Harper isn't telling is about the usually boring nuts-and-bolts administration of public policy. Still, when the machinery of government is being tested in Parliament daily, explaining what's being done to make it run better should be appealing.

But not even the crisis now rocking the ruling party and sending its popularity plummeting is enough to get the Prime Minister talking about how the problem was tackled months ago. Back in January, Harper named his own foreign and defence policy adviser to co-ordinate Canada's all-of-government effort to put Afghanistan back on its feet.

After that David Mulroney disappeared backstage. One reason is that the smart, seasoned diplomat is also Harper's very busy point person for this summer's G-8 summit. Another is that the job may be impossible and discussing it publicly would only focus attention on the administration's problems herding its own cats.

If anything is clear in the prisoner treatment fog, it's that one government hand doesn't know what the other is doing. As the Star first reported last week, Gen. Rick Hillier, the Chief of Defence Staff and the main Afghanistan man for two prime ministers, enjoyed rare autonomy in crafting a detainee agreement now exposed as woefully inadequate.

That the once-powerful department of foreign affairs was excluded is symptomatic of a bigger problem. Hillier and the military so dominate Canada's Afghanistan thinking that the much-ballyhooed three-D's strategy of defence, development and diplomacy now sounds like rhetorical cover for a mission that's mostly about combat and rebuilding the military into a small yet potent fighting force.

Harper seemed to acknowledge the imbalance when he moved Mulroney from the secretariat that advises the Prime Minister to foreign affairs. From the Sphinx-like building known here as Fort Pearson, Mulroney is officially expected to add balance by ensuring that the overarching purpose of turning Afghanistan into a facsimile of a modern state isn't lost in killing Taliban.
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Offline JackD

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Re: Another story that no one is talking about
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2007, 12:50:43 »
Don't you just love bureaucratic in-fighting - From my experience with Canadian embassies they are staffed by the most unhelpful people you can find - I remember an e-mail reply I obtained vis-a-vis information on taxes - paraphrased it went like this: "We are an embassy, we are not here to help people". Try as well to get cultural items to give out to school kids... Besides the tax department, I'd say the most efficient government agency is the Canadian Armed Forces.....