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When in trouble on Afghanistan, take a trip there and get a photo-op.

There apparently was an interview with Ralph Goodale last week, in which he was asked what we can expect from the government this week, while not in the House. He said, “Oh, I think we’ll see a surprise visit by the PM to Afghanistan” (I’m still looking for that interview to see if its online anywhere I can link to – several people have mentioned it).

I dont’ know if this Conservative government and Harper are turning predictable in their actions, or if Ralph just took a shot in the dark and got lucky, but lo and behold, where is Harper today? Why, in Afghanistan:

Harper’s surprise visit comes against the backdrop of rising Canadian casualties – 44 since March 2006 – and increasingly divided public opinion over the merits of the mission. But he insisted that his visit here wasn’t motivated by domestic politics or a desire to boost his party’s own stalled popularity.

Of COURSE he isn’t there for those reasons. According to the Star, the trip has been in the works “for weeks”. That means it was being planned during the Afghan detainees controversy. Coincidence? Oh, and Defence Minister O’Connor is there as well. Isn’t that interesting?

The fact of the matter is, the Conservatives have a history of taking photo-ops trips to Afghanistan and loudly proclaiming support for the troops when they get public heat over some aspect of the Afghanistan issue. A few examples of this: In March of last year, Harper paid a “surprise visit ” to Kandahar after he was getting grilled over his refusal to allow any debate on Canada’s role in Afghanistan. After O’Connor’s first misleading of the House over the Red Cross supposedly reporting detainee abuse to Canada, he took off to Afghanistan and Kandahar as well. He was followed in early April by 3 more Conservative Ministers (Guergis, Day, Toews). There are others as well, which I wont document here, else I’d take up the entire frontpage.

The point is, the pattern of taking “secret” or “surprise” trips to Afghanistan in order to deflect or mute public and opposition criticism of them and the Afghan mission is well established by this government. I don’t believe Harper for a minute when he insists it has nothing to do with domestic politics.

UPDATE: Thanks to Radical Centrist for finding the link where Ralph makes his accurate prediction here. Maybe he was able to get an appointment with Harper’s psychic hairdresser or something… but great call, Mr. Goodale.

15 comments to When in trouble on Afghanistan, take a trip there and get a photo-op.

  • Gayle

    Let’s see if Harper does indeed show up in Regina later in the week. I am thinking this prediction may have actually been a leak.

  • I dont know Undecided.. but I think you need a new handle.. because you’re anything but.

    You’ve been visiting Small Dead Animals far too often. That French citizenship stuff is so Dec ’06.

  • Undecided voter

    Gee, I wonder who the troops support, Harpy or Mons. Pion.
    Is he still a french citizen. :em55:

  • wilson61

    IMO we need an election, now.

  • [quote comment=”4290″]:em20:

    I saw Goodale predict this myself, but I can’t remember which show.

    I’ve updated as I mentioned – it was on CTV’s Question Period with Jane Taber and Craig Oliver last week.

    Look at the polls and you’ll know when Harper will be going over there. I think it’s the detainee issue and he’ll probably get Karzai (like you could trust Karzai) say there is no torture or something – that’s my prediction.[/quote]

    You would be entirely correct in that prediction as well.

  • Undecided voter

    When is Mons. Dion going over to visit the troops, after all it was the Liberals who first sent them over there in the wrong coloured uniforms and with rusted-out Bombardier jeeps.

  • slg


    I saw Goodale predict this myself, but I can’t remember which show.

    Look at the polls and you’ll know when Harper will be going over there. I think it’s the detainee issue and he’ll probably get Karzai (like you could trust Karzai) say there is no torture or something – that’s my prediction.

    How much do these photo-ops cost the taxpayers? The flight, security, fuel, etc. and of course the lip gloss. From a photo I saw today Harper looks like he’s wearing tinted lip gloss.

    It also gets Harper out of town with all the pathetic nonsense lately in his caucus. Typical Harper – run away – from the press, from any kind of conflict. What a weak man.

  • Radical Centrist

    Ah cool, thanks. The computers here at the office are screwy anyway – i wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been a problem at my end!

  • Hi Radical

    Actually.. it got caught up in my moderation queue.. I had to approve it. I’ve updated the original post with your link as you’ll see.

  • El Cynico

    Since becoming Prime Minister, Harper has now spent more time in Afstan than in B.C., Manitoba, Sask, PEI, Nova Scotia, NB, NL and the territories combined.

    If that isn’t committment, what is?

  • Radical Centrist

    Weirdly, i posted a link to what i think is the clip, but the comment isn’t here. Anyway, it was on Question period on Sunday, the political panel at the end of the show. If you go to the CTV site, you can find it on the question period page. I’m assuming that’s the right clip – i’m at work so can’t play it to check. FF to the end – it was essentially the last thing said.

  • Did it strike anyone else as funny that the place Harper went to visit (aside from where he demonstrated his zero-talent with a paintbrush) was called Camp Mirage? That just had me in stitches this morning. Yes, Camp Mirage… a place so super-secret and remote that its location cannot be disclosed… Why, it’s almost like it doesn’t even exist at all.

    Also, the re-building “surge” is called Operation Midas. There’s another snicker. Isn’t that clever? Yeah, like everything we touch will turn to gold, all magic, like. Perhaps they forgot that myth is cautionary and ends with a tragic reversal of fortune. Literally and figuratively. :em62:

  • knb

    I still can’t find the interview Scott, but try Don Newman’s show on Friday. I can’t get it to play.

  • I think it is nice for people to see a school that Canadian money help build in Kandahar and that Canadian soldiers help ensure stays safe and open. Sure it is a great photo-op but do you remember the pre-election day care bonanza in 2005?

    I believe Canadians need to see more of what is going on (on both sides of the issue)

    The secrecy surrounding some of these things is what makes many people uneasy.

    Look at the detainee issue. It was more the lying and the secrecy that did the government in than anything else. Many Canadians believe the detainees arent our business but disapprove of the way the issue was bungled.

  • I can’t play this because i’m at work, but i think this clip would have the Goodale comment.

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