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The so-called nonpartisan panel on Afghanistan is anything but.

I get the feeling Harper was looking at the Iraq Study Group in the US as a model when he came up with this idea of a panel to look at Afghanistan. However, this panel is anything but nonpartisan, though Harper is trying to claim otherwise.

Three of the five members of the panel are former Conservative cabinet ministers, ambassadors, or advisers, and John Manley, though a likable enough guy, is someone I consider on the right of the Liberal Party, and as pointed out here, fully supported the Afghanistan mission. That may not mean he supports it being extended beyond 2009, of course, but with the lack of any true left-leaning politicians or eminent persons on this panel (and I don’t count Pamela Wallin amongst that group), my suspicion is that Harper picked these folks knowing that they would probably give out an opinion similar to his own, and then use it to attack the opposition parties with.

The claim Harper is trying to take the partisanship out of the Afghanistan debate is laughable; EVERYTHING Harper has done so far in his Prime Minister’s tenure has been partisan – he’s described as the most partisan Prime Minister in recent history – so colour me skeptical that he isn’t aiming to use this panel to attack his opponents views on Afghanistan either.

11 comments to The so-called nonpartisan panel on Afghanistan is anything but.

  • JOE BONNEVIE MONCTON NB

    Harper is taking his direction from the  Bush administration.  If one looks closely, you will notice that he is trying to copy, his idol, George Bush. His policies on Afghanistan, his attitude, that of his government looks like carbon copy out of the Bush  IRAQ STUDY GROUP. Canadians are not stupid as he thinks, if the throne speech triggers an election, he will have to do a HARPER STUDY GROUP, on how he lost seats to the New Democratic Party, who is against on how Harper is copying the Americans in Afghanistan.  I hope that Canadians make a final statemet, ‘HARPER, YOUR FIRED" [email protected]

  • mushroom

    "it’s whether we end the mission when it comes around."

    Scott,

    I don’t know what your stance on the Afghanistan mission is.

    Mine is totally up in the air

  • [quote comment="9427"]I hope she’ll consult one of her old journalist friends Arthur Kent at http://www.skyreporter.com . He’s been covering Afghanistan for 30 years. He should be on the panel.[/quote]

    Arthur Kent probably would be subject to similar critiques, seeing as <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Kent">his older brother</a> ran for the Conservatives in the last election and will be running again in the next one.

  • Deb Prothero

    Scott, 
    Good call. You nailed it. I have more respect for Pamela Wallin’s opinion because I’ve met her and I believe she will be quick enough to realize that she’s being played here.  I hope she’ll consult one of her old journalist friends Arthur Kent at http://www.skyreporter.com . He’s been covering Afghanistan for 30 years. He should be on the panel.
    Also the date for the report is interesting. Isn’t Feb ’08 the date for something else he announced this week. So that means a March budget and an April election is what he wants.

  • Pamela Wallin is somewhat left leaning, but she is the only one of the four so hardly balanced.  That being said I suspect Harper probably has a good reason to not want an election so this was more to defuse the issue than end it.  Indeed, Harper often ignores advice he doesn’t like, so if the committee’s recommendations go against his views he will ignore it.  This is more about buying time.

    As for Manley, he has always been on the right of the party, but as a big tent party, I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing per se.

  • Harry

    Manley is now finished.  Just like David Emerson.

  • ALW

    Harper has been described as the most partisan Prime Minister in recent history by…Liberals.  Big shock there.  Sounds like you’re awfully upset that Harper has found a way to put the Liberals between a rock and a hard place.  Except I have no sympathy there since  the Liberals chose to veer way over to the left and are now jostling with the Bloc and the NDP for the most inane, ridiculous position on Afghanistan. “Deadlines”?  Since when did we undertake massive humanitarian/military missions like the current one, with “deadlines” in mind?  How many such conflicts in history have been successfully completed on a “timetable”?  Doesn’t the very idea seem absurd?  Oh, but the public is uncomfortable with Afghanistan.  So I guess that justifies it, right?

  • Harper is just using what we’ve had here in Alberta for at least the past 15 years. Appoint a commission of like-minded individuals. Send them forth and then if you agree with what they come up with, shout it out from the highest mountain, if not, bury the report so deep that not even and access to information request will find it. Given the way that the Tories are her in Alberta and that Harper is likely using that model; itwouldn’t surprise me if Harper’s already told them what their "findings" will be and that the whole exercise is just window dressing.

  • The point Wilson isn’t on when we sent them.. it’s whether we end the mission when it comes around.

  • wilson

    When Chretien said yes to Bush and sent  our troops to Afghanistan ,
    most Liberals were right of where they apparently are now,  under Dion.
    I suppose that is due to all those ‘borrowed’ Dipper voters that stayed Liberal, for now.

  • Putting Manley was a good move by him.  It means he becomes the center of focus of the panel, and people ignore the Conservatives on it.  Also, since Manley is a tad more to the right than many Liberals, he gets people closer to his viewpoint.

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