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The Painful Demise of Thomas Mulcair


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By: james Di Fiore

When Olivia Chow announced she would run to become the mayor of Toronto it looked like she couldn’t lose. Toronto had just spent 4 years dealing with Rob Ford, a cartoon-like politician whose exploits need no rehashing.

Toronto knew Olivia. She had a presence in our city for decades. She had a famous husband who propelled the NDP to Official Opposition status and gave them 100+ seats in the House of Commons.

In short, we needed no introductions. We just needed Olivia to be herself.

Instead, in one of the most badly calculated political strategies in Canada’s history, Olivia gave us someone we had never met before. She changed her clothes, her way of speaking, her overall demeanor. She hired political goons while giving her rivals all they needed to completely destroy her.

Chow finished a distant third place as John Tory rode to victory ahead of Doug Ford, the conservative who finished second.

This federal election is showing a lot of parallels.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair had everything going for him. His party was well ahead of the conservatives and liberals in the polls. He had impressed Canadians over the past two years by holding Stephen Harper to account in the House of Commons, especially during Question Period. A majority of Canadians had become wise to the antics of Stephen Harper; his incremental strategy of ushering in anti-democratic policies, his disregard for evidence based decision-making, and his contempt for ethics, especially in regards to the Senate scandal.

Canada finally had a competent politician holding Harper’s feet to the fire, and Canadians rewarded his feistiness by propelling him to the top of the polls.

And then it happened. Harper announced an elongated 78 day campaign, and Mulcair decided to do his best Olivia Chow impersonation by needlessly reinventing himself. He or his handlers decided to abandon the Mulcair that won us over, and place a stiff, faux jovial imposter in his stead. His entire demeanor had all the authenticity of a wax museum figure, and his support began to plummet.

Mulcair had been known for years in Ottawa as Angry Tom, and it was Angry Tom who Canadians needed at a time when they felt exhausted by a prime minister only interested in retaining his power. Moreover, Mulcair’s new persona was matched only by his decision to push the party towards the right, alienating his base and confusing undecided voters who were not looking for outlandish promises like balanced budgets.

Add a masterful Liberal campaign and a surprising performance by Justin Trudeau, and the writing on the wall became ever more clear: the NDP were in third place, and the notion of their first crack at power had all but evaporated.

Campaigns are not all that complex at the end of the day. People are not always savvy, but almost all of us have instincts that tell us who is being real with us, and who is trying to play a role. In this election, Mulcair was playing the role of a guy who wasn’t being himself, and Canadians rewarded him by making sure he would never become prime minister.

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Top 5 Reasons Why Kathleen Wynne Won the Election

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Perfect political storm vaults Wynne into a majority government

By: James Di Fiore

If political pundits, strategists and pollsters were smart, they’d wake up this morning and call their bosses, hat in hand, and beg for occupational mercy. This provincial election was a great case study in political folly, and while a majority government sounds great for Liberal supporters, there were various moving parts that made it possible, most of which have little to do with the public’s gushing admiration for the Ontario Liberal Party.

So, here are the top 5 reasons Ontarians woke up this morning to a Liberal majority government.

1. Union Support – Like almost everything else on this list, the support by many Ontario unions has a backstory and a slew of footnotes, most notably being the fear of Tim Hudak by public sector employees and unionized workers alike. Traditionally, unions are mostly associated with the NDP, but Horwath’s decision to force an election angered union bosses who were on record praising the Liberal budget as a victory for working class people. Horwath’s decision to pass on the budget secured union support for Wynne and left the NDP searching for an identity.

2. Tim Hudak’s Ineffective Leadership – Hudak has said several times that people often tell him he looks like actor Michael Keaton. Unfortunately for Hudak, voters saw a man who only slightly resembled the actor…and only if Keaton was hit in the face several times with a hard covered copy of The Fountainhead. The embattled conservative leader is a rare combination of scorched earth policies and utter incompetence in connecting with voters who don’t share a Tea Party outlook on life and politics. His resignation as party leader immediately following the election was a smart move… for 2011. In 2014 he’s a man who ran his party into the ground. With no obvious heir apparent, the PCs will be hard pressed to find a compelling replacement.

3. Strategic Voting – This is another Hudak-related phenomenon that compelled the left-leaning electorate to hold their nose and vote Liberal. Social media, mass emails and word of mouth helped secure votes in ridings where the race was too close to call, a strange component of democracy where voters are convinced their support for a candidate they don’t like is more important than support for the candidate they do like. This, combined with a low voter turnout, seemed to favour the Liberals and conservatives who were separated by only 6% in the popular vote.

4. Andrea Horwath’s Ineffective Leadership – She was the first domino in this election after refusing to get behind the Liberal budget, forcing an election almost nobody wanted. She also attempted to drift towards the centre, also known as the far right to most NDP supporters, and in doing so seemed to alienate the party’s base who felt abandoned during the campaign. Truly, if you are too timid to speak directly towards issues that you’ve been championing for years, you’ve probably already lost the election.

5. The Liberals Ran a Textbook Campaign – While many believed anything short of throwing Daulton McGuinty under the bus would not be a strong enough rebuke of the Liberal government scandals, Wynne managed to balance an almost subliminal dressing down of the former premier with a message that resonated with voters. That message – finishing the job and not being tempted by austerity – succeeded in mobilizing the base, as well as the disgruntled supporters of the NDP. Her ads showed a leader who, while aesthetically stiff on camera, managed to come off as authentic, a stark contrast to Hudak and Horwath who both make the act of watching paint dry seem like Mardi Gras.

So when the aforementioned pundits, strategists and pollsters begin hedging their previous predictions or expressing how surprising the election was, they should be at least cognizant of the lack of confidence the public has in each of them. This is especially true for pollsters, who once again prove there is a vacuum in their industry after butchering yet another election that was supposed to be an easy call.

Know Your Enemies…then brand them accordingly.

Why the Next Liberal Leader Needs to be More Like Stephen Harper

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 By: James Di Fiore

It was the worst kept secret in Ottawa – that former Ontario premier, Bob Rae, who used to don NDP orange, would eventually be able to run for the leadership of his new party: the recently decimated federal Liberal Party of Canada.

To the Harper conservatives, it is an early Christmas present. But they have their own issues to sift through.

The Omnibus Budget

When Harper was the leader of the loyal opposition, he had many things to say about the ability of a majority Parliament to consolidate seemingly unrelated bills into an omnibus collage.

“First, there is a lack of relevancy of these issues. The omnibus bill we have before us attempts to amend several different existing laws.

Second, in the interest of democracy I ask: How can members represent their constituents on these various areas when they are forced to vote in a block on such legislation and on such concerns?”

It is the kind of quote that should be repeated over and over again. But this is Canada, and only one party is effective at branding their opponents. For Thomas Mulcair and Bob Rae to capitalize on this hypocritical stance regarding omnibus legislation, they would need a competent communications strategy. Neither party can make such claim, and unless Harper decides to commit suicide, this hypocrisy will end up like the rest of his scandals and missteps: forgotten.

Bob Rae’s Leadership Goals

The conservatives, who have trumped all other federal parties in effective communications for the past 15 years, already banked on this happening months ago when they released a preemptive ad asking Canadians if Bob Rae can be trusted as Prime Minister. After all, he left Ontario with one of the largest deficits in its history and took a policy swipe at his own base while doing so.

A first school of thought, and one which seems to be the prevailing opinion in political circles, is as follows: a track record as rocky as Rae’s will not be able to escape the relentless negative branding by Harper’s conservatives and still emerge as a leader Canadians can trust. Conservatives are great at attack ads, and with Harper’s insatiable lust to ultimately destroy the Liberal Party, Canadians are about to witness a new age in negative advertisements. We are at the very beginning of a political era in Canada where parties will begin crucifying their opponents even when the next election is still years away. In fact, it would be a good bet to believe the conservatives already have a few ads in the queue, trickling them out every time a new opportunity materializes.

After the Liberal convention last January, when a staggering number of red faithfuls made their way to Ottawa to reignite their party, whispers already began to persist regarding Rae’s ambitions as leader. He is a solid speaker and made his mark that weekend, leaving skeptics wondering if he could effectively combat the attacks from Harper and the newly invigorated NDP. That momentum was squandered, however, as the Liberals decided to go into hiding instead of striking the hot iron the convention had provided.

But there may be a chess game quietly taking place at the Liberal executive these days. Most sources indicate the Liberals are universal in their confidence in Rae. This is probably more of a communications strategy than a reality as other insiders are concerned Rae is simply damaged goods. What is obvious is that Liberals need to become more savvy in their public relations, cementing themselves as the only moderate alternative to two opposite yet equally ideological counterparts. This goal of becoming a more effective party in the world of sound bites and ads is a steeper climb with Rae as leader. Rae will keep the Liberals on the defensive for the most part, constantly being badgered about his time as Ontario Premier. The conservatives are masters at getting the press to parrot their criticisms of other politicians (see Michael Ignatieff) and will leave little wiggle room for the Libs to navigate through.

Justin Trudeau’s Leadership Moxie

After the announcement of Rae’s leadership eligibility a media coup took place. On the day it was announced, polls began popping up showing Trudeau as the de facto favourite if he chose to run. His positives are higher, his negatives are lower. And as a sitting Member of Parliament, he is more popular than his 307 colleagues. In short, he is Canada’s only political celebrity.

And he acts like one too.

Trudeau has a lot going for him – his charm, his name recognition, his age – and he has a lot going against him – his charm, his name recognition and his age. Alberta and Saskatchewan, still bitter over the National Energy Program ushered in by Pierre Trudeau, point a finger at Justin as if he was pulling the levers of power for dear old dad. Justin was 9 years old when the NEP was enacted, but this is another example of the savvy, if not Mad Men inspired communications of Harper’s conservative party: brand your enemies so that when decades go by folks will only remember our version of who our enemies are.

It’s working. Ask any Albertan about Justin Trudeau and they will almost certainly begin with his father’s policies. Rae’s name is now synonymous with his 5 years as Ontario Premier (ending 17 years ago) and the tribulations that went along with his administration. Harper once again was able to frame his opponent into the most unflattering career snapshot available and get people to numbly agree.

But what if that worked the other way? What if Harper was asked to brand his own persona in the worst light possible? What would it look like?

If we were to begin in the present day political climate in Ottawa, with the Omnibus Bill being fillibustered in Parliament as we speak, the aforementioned quote would be the singular message coming out of conservative rank and filers.

Reporters would get tired of the repetition, but that’s how you know it is working. Harper has made a career out of his non-interaction with the media, so it seems like a great tactic when trying to brand him as a hypocrite. If the question is “How are opposition parties going to do anything other than stall this bill?” Opposition MPs should reply, “The Prime Minister himself is against omnibus legislation. He has questioned how constituents can feel represented when so much legislation is crammed into one bill. That’s the Prime Minister himself talking. He is either a hypocrite or against his own legislation.”

And so on.

But try as they may, opposition parties in Canada are impotent in cementing an idea for the public. They are also undisciplined. Without an effective voter relations strategy and the ability to stay on message, even when it feels wrong to do so, they simply cannot overcome the machine the conservatives have been building for decades. As it stands, Stephen Harper is the only politician in Canada who could destroy Stephen Harper. With that kind of reality, there’s no wonder he is getting cocky on his perch.

Why Occupy Toronto Failed

 How the opportunity to advance liberty was doomed from the start

By: James Di Fiore

I wanted to be there with them, shoulder to shoulder, as they marched to St. James Park in downtown Toronto. I hoped we were to stand in solidarity with the protesters in New York, participating in a conversation about corporate corruption and their governmental enablers. I, like many, felt like we were watching history unfold. The Arab Spring had planted a seed of revolution of sorts, and while we were a watered down western version motivated by different circumstances, apathy was being replaced with passion…and I liked it

And then I watched it all fall down.

Being a moderate, it is difficult to get behind any movement. Moderates can usually see both sides of a coin and view ideology as a barrier between problems and solutions. While I witnessed New York City mobilize against Wall Street corruption I was simultaneously witnessing Toronto ride the coat tails of that movement. At first I gave the protesters a pass for not having a coherent message. After all, conservative ideologues were already lobbing those kinds of critiques against Occupy Wall Street activists, ignoring the underlying issue of crony capitalism or the lack of prosecutorial vigour against white collar swindlers. But as the first week progressed it was clear that Occupy Toronto had lost any tangible or even symbolic connection with OWS, to the point that I found myself agreeing with some of the milder criticisms leveled by the likes of Charles Adler or Rex Murphy. When you are agreeing with the editorializing of Adler, you know something is not how it should be.

St. James Park’s tag line is ‘A City Within a Park’, but a quick stroll through the makeshift camp and it became clear what went wrong. For all the talk of other movements being co-opted by the Koch Brothers or public sector unions, rarely have we seen a movement so rapidly co-opted by Kensington Market anarchists and Queen and Bathurst squeegie kids, many of whom viewed St. James as a temporary hangout rather than a home base for serious political discussion. And let’s be honest; a leaderless movement has a quicker expiry date than organic sour dough, especially when participants spend more time worrying about tent pegs than political consensus.

And there is a list of problems Occupy Toronto could have spotlighted. Corporate welfare, the omnibus Crime Bill, campaign financing legislation, draconian drug laws, federal overspending, provincial overspending, and a host of other issues that directly place corporate favourtism over personal liberties, but when your movement is dependent on the communications savvy of an inarticulate, unsophisticated mob, your chances of making any political or social headway disintegrates.

All they had to do was create a comprehensive vision with the list of inequalities and injustices that already exist in Canada, but they opted for a disjointed and sloppy squat posse destined for failure. Not only did they fail at shining a light on any relevant issues, they may have succeeded in snookering the progress real activists had been working towards by becoming their accidental spokespersons, rallying an incoherent cry and killing all credibility in the process. 

Open Letter to Jason Kenney

A public appeal to help save the Martinez family from almost certain demise

Mr. Kenney,

I write you today with worry and a heavy heart.

You know the case the headline refers to, so I will not reintroduce you to the particulars of those involved. What I would like to discuss is your deflection to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada, as if you have no power to help influence the decision to deport this family back to Columbia.

We both know that you are well within your rights, and certainly within your mandate, to protect potential victims from harm’s way if it is determined there is a possibility of violent retribution towards individuals seeking asylum.

Please take a moment and think to yourself what the headlines will say if this family is indeed killed by murderous henchmen from the organization known as FARC. Inevitably, it will fall on your desk and rival parties will no doubt lay blame at your doorstep, and rightfully so.

Your hands are not tied, and there is still time to allow the Canadian embassy in Columbia to send the family back. Be innovative and brave…stand up for these people who are clearly not a mennace to Canadian society. By doing so you may save their lives and becomes a real statesman to boot.

No disrespect, but right now you seem callous and arbitrary. This could change quite easily if you do something to help.

Sincerely,

James Di Fiore

Canadian Politics: Mind the Middle

The decimation of the federal Liberals provides new hope for Canadian moderates

By: James Di Fiore

Canada is becoming a very strange place. Historically, our political landscape was shaped by the apathetic, sprinkled with some conservatives, liberals and socialists. Policies were drafted and negotiated based on the reality that ideologues did not yield power in this nation. Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien – all of the most significant leaders this country has seen over the past 40 years have governed from the center, their base providing a lift and moderates providing their political survival. The apathetic played their role too – they stayed out of it. Canada had a brilliant international reputation as being fiscally prudent peacekeepers who brokered free trade agreements, hosted Olympic Games, milked internet bandwidth for all it was worth and extremely potent marijuana. It is cynical, but today we have a growing portion of our electorate who know how to say words like ‘socialist’ or ‘fascist’ but clearly have trouble defining either term. Ignorance may be bliss, but it is running rampant in the great white north.

How did we get here? When did we go from affable to laughable, and who is to blame for our new trot towards the mindless recitation of talking points from talking heads? The Reform Party may have been the first domino – a stringent, ideological crew from western Canada made from a mix of Libertarian and Evangelical roots. They successfully dismantled the federal Progressive Conservatives, turning a reasonable right-leaning party into an ideological posse ripe with partisan beliefs and an unwavering philosophy. Former prime minister Joe Clark, once seen by his political rivals as a conservative stalwart, seemed not only tame but reasonable by his former opponents on the Hill. Alberta, disgruntled by Trudeau’s energy policies which cemented an air of resentment within the province, yearned for a voice better suited to the narrative being recited for decades. That narrative was stark, a sort of provincialism reminiscent of Quebec separatists only without tales of an unfair confederacy nestled inside the rhetoric. Of course, Albertan conservatives would disagree, claiming decades of injustice had passionate reactions among regular folks, but in Canada this was brand new: a dismantling of a Canadian political institution and the beginning of the new conservative indoctrination project.

The new Canadian conservative movement has been fueled by two incontrovertible facts. The first is an easy pick: Liberal Party incompetence. While Liberals tend to blame member infighting for their woes, the Chretien vs Paul Martin beef is propped up by residue from the sponsorship scandal and most recently exacerbated by two leadership conferences that produced two lackluster leaders. Meanwhile, the NDP has collected the scraps from the Liberal table and now sits at the head, creating a polarized Canada and the perfect storm for the Conservative Party.

But the most troubling recruiting tool currently being sharpened by the conservative right is the encouragement of demonizing political rivals by right wing strategists, pundits and politicians. Regular right-leaning Canadians are answering the call with American-inspired attacks on all who lean left. Evidence of this deliberate tactic is everywhere. The caricature is hockey grump Don Cherry who mused at Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s inauguration about ‘left wing pinkos’ and ‘bike riding communists’. Message boards and comment sections on newspaper sites contain a treasure trove of vitriolic statements and ideological rants that not just disagree with non-conservative views but vilify and marginalize those who think differently.

Hardcore leftists are equally repugnant in their brief and rather unlettered manifestos, often describing Stephen Harper as a fascist while creating conspiracy theories about his ties to corporations and the state of Israel. Talk of Canada’s national identity being reshaped by fundamental Christians is complimented by maniacal claims of hidden political agendas and treasonous takeovers by oil companies.

And the Liberals, a party who had tried to brand itself as Canada’s only band of moderates, suddenly find themselves pushed aside. They deserve their political demotion, but the need for political moderation has never been more dire. Canadians are being driven towards polarization through the politics of fear, a dangerous yet potent ingredient in mobilizing party support in any country. But this task of extracting reason from panic is an uphill battle for the Liberals who have spent the bulk of the last 7 years focusing on their rivals rather than their constituents. Pundits who muse about a possible merger between the Liberals and NDP are dreaming out loud. Jack Layton is finally reaching his potential and would never relinquish his new found role as leader of the opposition. Nor should he. Nor could he. Ideologically, the NDP and Liberals are worlds apart, mostly because the Liberals do not have a well defined ideology.

Perhaps the old adage of finding opportunity nestled inside crisis is too idealistic for Canadian moderates, but the prospect of throwing in the towel would spell disaster for the nation. The Liberals are a blank slate – bruised, beaten and bloodied – but they have wiggle room. Without any real influence over their conservative and socialist counterparts they have no choice but to redirect their gaze towards the very people who voted them out, while simultaneously engaging the only constituency who continue to be unrepresented – the youth. Incorrigible as they seem, not since the 60s have we seen a climate where young people are finding their voice. Their sloth-like pace is a frustrating testament to the outdated method of engagement undertaken by politicians stuck in an ancient ritual of long expired recruitment methods. It may be a colossal challenge, but without young people there can be no base, and without that youthful base there can be no party.

It has been the better part of a decade since Liberals engaged honestly with Canadians, and the better part of two decades since they last showed an alliance with them. Canada is not the United States…yet. But the symptoms of drifting towards a two party system are ripe, and without the emergence of a new centrist manifesto we could be in for a dark age in federal politics.

VIDEO OF CANADIAN VOTING AS DARTH VADER

 

Actual video footage of a man casting a ballot with a Darth Vader mask on. This is done in protest over the government’s decision to allow people to cast a ballot with their faces covered.

Election 2011: How Canada is Replicating America’s Hyper Partisan Politics

 

 NDP surge means more than a political shift – it completes the national polarization process

By: James Di Fiore

As far as Parliamentary systems go, Canada once had an international reputation of demonstrating fiscal prudence, strong social policies and a peacekeeping military. It wasn’t too long ago when our national identity was predicated on our ability to differentiate ourselves, respectfully of course, from our American cousins. Canadians, a patchwork of various political leanings, had a reputation of not letting ideology trump civil discourse, even while their politicians took cheap shots or when Question Period looked like Romper Room. Americans, by contrast, treat politics like a blood sport, a tug of war between polar opposites fueled by cable news, conspiracy and the tendency to vilify opposing views. And while the two countries are easily separated by this political distinction, that gap is shrinking ominously.

The 2011 election has been preempted by deliberate tactics of aspersions meant to reinforce political differences rather than spotlight honest disagreements. This reinforcement seems logical on the surface; after all, this is an election of partisan ideas and genuine dissimilarities between the parties. But the tactical trends indicate an increase in hyperbole, demonization and vitriol between regular people, not just the leaders they support. Evidence of this new mindset among voters can be seen on social networking sites, the opinion sections of news outlets and in pubs and coffee shops across the country. The two sides are drifting from the center, espousing far right and far left ideals while warning their fellow Canadians of the perils of political views opposite from their own.

By attacking Stephen Harper on military spending, corporate tax cuts and perceived government secrecy, the Liberals and NDP are inciting reactionary rhetoric from their loyalists rather than a frank discussion on policy differences. Rooted in these talking points may be reasonable concerns, but the conversation is routinely fertilized with fear mongering and allegations of conspiracy.

The far right, disciplined in their ability to robotically stay on message, firebomb the left with labels like ‘socialist’, ‘fiberal’ and ‘anti-Semite’. The latter smear is telegraphed and eerily reminiscent of Evangelical America, the slur being delivered arbitrarily and deliberate. The term socialism, as the Obama era has demonstrated, is now the political equivalent of calling a person a Brownshirt, stoking a reaction among those conservatives who still cynically dub Canada ‘Canuckistan.’

Identical to American politicos in tone and delivery, these two groups have become the loudest voices during this campaign. Television broadcasts may not espouse or endorse the same kind of language, but journalists and pundits quietly recognize the behind the scenes trend of tar and feathering political opponents. As the Conservative base digs in, the rise of the NDP marches on. Ideologies are continuing to drift farther apart. The rhetoric provides the kind of cover that helps avoid the effective discourse needed to reconcile opposing views. You might never hear Stephen Harper publicly utter the word Canuckistan, but you can hear his base cackle enthusiastically when the term is used. Jack Layton probably won’t point and yell ‘Fascist!’ if Harper wins a majority government, but many of his minions are already wearing t-shirts bearing the message.

The chances of further polarization among Canadians is high. Engagement in politics is rising, moods are shifting and party strategists are encouraging an ongoing spirit of anger among their respective loyalists. Torches and pitchforks have been replaced with internet trolling and reactionary, inflammatory language.

Disinformation. Relentless name-calling. A dangerous and tragic replication of American discourse is being born, and many Canadians are unwitting, tragic accomplices.

This Week in Question Period – December 11th, 2009

By: James Di Fiore

Poor Peter MacKay.

Not since his heartbreaking split with nepotism-soaked heiress Belinda Stronach a few years ago have we seen such a flustered Minister of Defense. Peter McKay faced loud and sometimes obnoxious calls to resign by members of the opposition this week, capping off a week that brought the prisoner abuse scandal to a new level.

After years of steadfast claims that Canada has never acted improperly when handing detainees over to Afghan officials on the battlefield, a field report surfaced that showed one detainee had been photographed with Canadian soldiers before being handed over and subsequently abused at the hands of his Afghan captors. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff lambasted both Prime Minister Harper and MacKay after General Walter Natynczyk acknowledged that the military had been aware that transferred prisoners risked being abused. The report contained a note from a Canadian soldier stating the following – “we then photographed the individual prior to handing him over to ensure that if the Afghan National Police did assault him, as has happened in the past, that we would have a visual record of his condition.” The field report is dated 2006 and was apparently only discovered on Wednesday morning by General Natynczyk.

The opposition leaders and back-benchers took turns calling for MacKay’s resignation both directly and through the PM.

Coincidentally, MacKay was scheduled to appear in front of a parliamentary committee concerning Afghanistan on Wednesday afternoon, where he once again faced scathing criticism from opposition members. The government has consistently stated they have no credible evidence of detainees being tortured after being in Canadian custody, and attempted to spin the controversy into ‘military bashing’ by the Liberals and other opposition parties.

This desperation tactic may be a watershed moment for the parliament as they head into the holidays. The new developments related to the military police complaints commission’s stated determination to begin hearings in March over Afghan detainees, but many on the Hill feel the Conservative government will not appoint a new commissioner in time. 340, 000 documents currently being reviewed and redacted may thwart the committee’s ability to uncover the underlying issues. The government has stated the redacted material are a matter of “operational safety” for the troops still stationed overseas. Michael Ignatieff sees it differently.

“This is a government that tried to strangle the military police commission from the beginning,” Ingatieff stated. He added, “The risk of putting anybody in operational danger is about zero . . . It’s too ridiculous to discuss.”