View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Canadians have a right to know – November 16, 2010 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – “Canadians are waiting for a clear, detailed position from the government. Citizens have the right to know what the government intends to do clearly with respect to our engagement in 2011.” For once, Ignatieff has it right; we do deserve to know before, not after the decision is officially recognized by NATO.

No one is foolish enough to believe that just days before a key NATO meeting that the government is still examining its options for the extension of the Afghan mission. This decision was finalized by the Prime Minister days, if not weeks ago. For Lawrence Cannon to stand and pretend we still don’t know what we are doing is a sham. That type of bluffing (most likely directly by PMO) is not only silly but disrespectful of the House and the public.

One could also question why it is Cannon answering questions about a NATO military deployment. While all the reporters are focused on whether or not MacKay is leaving, has anyone asked him why Cannon is in charge of the file? Has anyone asked him if he and our military agree with this particular deployment and our new role in Afghanistan?

Extending our mission may be the right thing to do, but it is a decision that is going to have a strong impact on our country, and more specifically on the men and women of our armed forces and their families.

Because it is so important, it is one of those occasions in politics when Ignatieff and Rae should have been briefed by the government. Both are members of the Privy Council and as such could have been fully briefed in complete confidence. This would have lessened the tone of the debate and shown a government not only intent on doing the right thing in Afghanistan but also on the home front.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

Choose Cornwall


  1. Well said, Keith. This government has been in for nearly 5 years and is still all over the map on policy and communications. Canada and Canadians deserve better. High time we had grown-ups in charge.

  2. Reading your statement Keith is like opening a can of worms(so many different things). Congrats to Stephen Harper. We are doing the right thing in Afghanistan! Anyone with half a brain should know that we cannot just walk away from Afghanistan on a certain date! We must have people(read troops) left behind to train and teach(non-combative roles for our men) what is necessary for the Afghani’s to protect(read combative roles) themselves from the Taliban.

  3. Harper will do what ever he wants because he knows from five years of experience, that the Official Opposition will back him up, or disappear when anything comes up for a vote. Given that, Canadians still deserve to hear an honest debate on this important issue. What a treat it would be to see our elected MPs have a proper debate/discussion on this in the House without the yelling, finger pointing, and partisan nastiness.

  4. So has the Prime Minister of Canada become the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces now? It seems our government is getting away from us.

    It’s pretty clear that this whole Afghanistan intervention, in the middle of a civil war, was folly. And while Canadians give lives, limbs and loved ones, it’s only politicians, cronies and and board room execs on this side of the world, and politicians, their relatives, criminals, and warlords in bass akwards Afghanistan that are winning.

    We can leave now or we can leave in ten years, but either way we’ll be the losers. We’ve about as much chance of success as would the Catholic Women’s League in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In other words we’re out of our element.

    So talk, blather, write whatever you want from the comfort of your Canadian home… but it amounts to this;

    Take a bucket, and fill it with water;
    Put your hand in it up to the wrist;
    Take it out, and the hole that’s remaining
    Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.

    You can stir up the water, and churn it;
    You can splash it with vigor galore;
    But the moment that you remove your hand,
    It remains quite the same as before.

    The evil, ignorant and superstitious, aren’t going away.

Leave a Reply