Sunday, September 30, 2007

Coderre to Afghanistan

It's not often I'll say this, but good on Dennis Coderre. The Liberal defence critic is going to Afghanistan to see the situation for himself, even if the Conservative government seems to very much not want him to go:

The Montreal-area MP says he's made multiple requests with Defence Minister Peter MacKay's office but that they were systematically ignored or rejected. He said he first asked to go when Gordon O'Connor was defence minister but sometimes didn't get his calls returned.
You know, I'm not surprised at all about the hypocrisy of the Conservatives and their blogging army, who attack Liberals on the one hand for not visiting Afghanistan for themselves to see what's going on first hand, while at the same time they set up roadblocks to stop Liberals from going through official channels.

If this sounds at all familiar, it should. You'll recall the Cons also refused to let the Governor-General go visit the troops. Twice. Photo-ops by the PM and his minister though? No problemo, come on over.

So, good on Coderre for taking matters into his own hand and booking his own trip:
While visiting dignitaries generally use transportation supplied by the Department of National Defence, Mr. Coderre has made his own travel arrangements to Afghanistan and within the country.

He does not yet have permission from the Canadian government to visit the international base in Kandahar but says he's confident that he will be allowed to meet with the troops.

Will Harper and McKay deny the official opposition's defence critic the opportunity to meet with Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan? That will be very interesting to see. Hopefully, the Cons will rise above political partisanship for once. After all, Coderre is only following their advice, and going to see the situation for himself.

And Denis, I think you should go one step further. Bring Stephane Dion along. I think he should see the situation for himself as well, and then report back to Parliament. Maybe you guys can get a companion fare or something, and a double occupancy rate at the Kabul Hilton.

Coderre going is good; Dion going would be better.

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wilson said...

in the article you posted:
'...A spokesman for Mr. MacKay said MP trips are usually organized through parliamentary committees and not through the minister's office.

But since the House of Commons is prorogued and its committees are temporarily suspended, Mr. Coderre would have to wait until the House resumes next month to get permission...'

One would think that the military can't 'entertain' MPs without permission, ultimately from PMSH.

Anonymous said...

It is irresponsible in my opinion for Mr.Dennis Coderre to go to Afghanistan without being organized through the parliamentary committee. For the simple reason God forbid he should be taken hostage.
Now just imagine the situation that everyone involved would be in.
Now why isn't Dion going? I see he is to busy!! Right?

Jeff said...

Wilson, Coderre has been trying to plan this trip for months, while the house was sitting as well; the Cons have blocked it every step of the way.

Right, you're contradicting yourself in your own comment. If you're so concerned about Coderre's safety, don't you think McKay should stop being a tool and authorize the visit. And if you think it's unsafe for Coderre to go without permission and he shouldn't go, how can you turn around and pan Dion for not going?!