Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

Then and Now

Posted by JJ in Doubletake/Doubletalk, By other means. . ., Crossroads of Culture (Wednesday December 6, 2006 at 9:30 am)

As Canadian soldiers gripe about the public’s misunderstanding of the Afghan mission, opposition defence critic, Ujjal Dosanjh thinks he knows how things got so messed up:

Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh blamed the information vacuum on the Conservatives and their policy of muzzling ministers and officials.
“I have the utmost respect for Gen. Fraser, the work he’s done, and I understand his frustration,” said Dosanjh. “But it’s really up to the government to provide information. And they have not been providing that information.”
Opposition MPs and senators — especially parliamentary defence committees — have “fought tooth and nail” to be briefed on the latest goings on in Afghanistan, he said.

And as the Harper government is well-known for its incommunicado policy, that sounds just about plausible.

But hold on, hasn’t it been only two months since the opposition was confidently assuring Canadians that the mission lacked the very humanitarian efforts which General Fraser now insists are going on? If the opposition wants to blame public misapprehension on the lack of information, how did it come to its own conclusions? Could it be that the opposition’s claims were then as they appeared to be — a disingenuous decision to spread false news rather than inform Canadians?

But don’t take that too heavily to heart. If, as Mr. Dosanjh suggests, it’s the government’s job to inform the public, perhaps the opposition is left with no role to play but to mislead it.

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