Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Is O'Connor muzzled, or just scared?

Sorry if it seems like I'm harping on this, but I think it's an important story that isn't getting the attention it deserves. Another day, and still no comment from defence minister (for now) Gordon O'Connor on the withholding from the public of previously available information in Afghan detainees ordered by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier.

As far as I can tell O’Connor has yet to comment on the decision, supposedly based on national security considerations, to withhold even the number of detainees captured by Canadian soldiers and turned over to Afghan authorities. Indeed, I don’t think any elected Conservative official has commented. Accountability indeed, Mr. Harper. Will the CPC hide behind bureaucrats all summer?

The decision to reverse course and stop releasing detainee information, which had previously served to deeply embarrass Deceivin’ Steven’s government and expose O’Connor’s incompetence, was announced by Hillier’s office. In a follow-up story, O’Connor’s office refused comment.

Today, DND trotted out another unelected official, deputy minister Ward Elcock, to defend the unprecedented decision which makes a mockery of Canada’s freedom of information and access laws.

“This is being done for one reason and one reason alone: to ensure there is no inadvertent release of information that could assist the enemy and put Canadian, allied or Afghan lives at greater risk,” the statement says.

Bullshit. I don’t want to put lives at risk; sensitive information on methods, procedures, strategy and so forth should be kept classified. But that information wasn’t released previously anyway. That’s a bait and switch.

Such simple information as the number of detainees captured is not in any way a security risk. That’s a laughable assertion. The national security excuse is a smokescreen. This is about politics, and the Conservatives should be ashamed to be hiding behind our troops and crying national security to avoid political embarrassment.

And O’Connor should be ashamed as well for hiding behind General Hillier, and now Ward Elcock, instead of stepping-up as an elected, accountable MP and Minister of National Defence and attempting to explain this policy to the Canadian people.

If you’re not muzzled, Gordon, step up and be accountable. And if Harper does have you muzzled (that’s my guess) just do the right thing and resign, because obviously you’re not able to do the job.

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JimBobby said...

Whooee! Inability to do the job ain't got many Con's resignin' their cabinet positions, so far.

The Con's played the "Support the troops" card and Canajuns bought it. O'Dumbass is gettin' a free ride. If accountability had anything to do with it, he'd have resigned or got the boot long ago.

I figger he's probbly been told to clam up but he could be scared he'll open his stoopid yap an' put his foot in like he's done more'n once before.

After that love letter to Rummy come out, he shoulda been writin' his letter of resignation.


gary_mh said...

There is a sort of progress, or at least a pattern here. First Harper had new MPs trained and equipped with standard responses so they would not say embarrassing things. Then he had his Ministers direct their staffs as to what would happen if anyone breached confidentiality. Then he trained them all that anything that happened was confidential. Then he made loud threats about alleged leaks. Then he started having trusted Minister A make comments that should have been the output of Minister B. Then nobody could get a quote out of any but a few Ministers at all, and the PMO became the sole mouth of government. Of course there were a few exceptions as for Donkey Bray Baird whose only real comments were to attack the opposition, and Cloying Kenny whose fawning remarks about Harper were safe enough. Finally we start to encounter the Neverwuzzers, the Ministers who are not known to have said anything about anything, do not now, and apparently never will. That is O"Connor, a Neverwuzzer. The essential Harper does not trust anyone, of course. especially now that he does not know what to do except whatever the Americans tell him, so the ranks of Neverwuzzers will expand quickly, and pretty soon they will not even venture to speak in public except to read press releases prepared by the PMO. That will be a good way to recognize one. We do not have a government, we have a caged and demented paranoid.