Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Flagged

I was going to comment on the whole flag fiasco but Rick Mercer has waded in with ten times the post I could ever write on the topic.

So, yeah - what Rick said.

115 Comments:

  • You know what this about eh?

    They are trying to limit the amount of publicity and news coverage dead soldier receive.

    The conservatives fear that if loses increase in Afghanistan and flags are continuously lowered and flag draped coffins continuously appearing in newspapers, support for military action in Afghanistan and the CPC will decrease.

    It’s the exact same thing that they did in the US.

    This whole sick charade is all about politics at the end of the day. I want to puke.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:09 AM  

  • I tend to side with the new (i.e. old) policy on this one. Yes, I know the Conservatives were hypocritical on this, but that doesn't mean the policy is wrong.

    When I lived in Ottawa, I'd go to the National Cenotaph on November 11. I'd watch the parades of veterans, the speeches and salutes, and the Silver Cross Mother. It's an incredible tribute, and means a heck of a lot more than the flag on the Peace Tower.

    One day of commemoration for war dead is fine, if it's as meaningful as the national remembrance ceremonies.

    By Blogger JP, at 1:56 AM  

  • Yikes, Mercer's rants are deadly when something really gets him going.

    By Anonymous KD, at 2:04 AM  

  • I still have this theory that Harper's a good guy at heart that loves Canada as much as I do.

    But this is bullshit. And the bullshit continues to pile up, it's like they took notes throughout the entire time Bush was in office and they're just rolling out every single Bush administration idea they can.

    This the day after I e-mail Mr Harper, admittedly mostly a symbolic gesture, about how strongly I feel about the Forces being in Afghanistan.

    We need to be there, but we need to be totally transparent about what's going on, and give everyone there as much support as we possibly can. We can have tasteful, respectful media coverage of their return; we can lower the flags, even if we didn't always do it, because we should be raising awareness, not lowering awareness. I know there are old veterans who wonder why we didn't always do it -- we didn't always speak French in parliament or let women vote, either. We're trying to get better at being a country, things change.

    This should not be political. I don't want it to be political. It's beside politics, I just want to do everything I can for the men and women over there, and this is... sad.

    I wish I had a flag of my own so I could half-mast it.

    By Blogger Mike Gillis, at 4:53 AM  

  • I don't get the outrage over this. The flags are flown at half mast at DND HQ, they are flown at half mast in the province, they are flown at half mast anywhere they want to be. The flat at the peace tower is lowered to remember soldiers on Nov 11th. The media and some other folks are really blowing this out of proportion and I think the Liberals are really bungling this worse than the Cons are. We shouldn't make this political.

    Sure a few Con MP's are being hypocritical but I don't think they are doing this out of purely political reasons. I doubt they really believe that not lowering the peace tower flag is REALLY going to save the public from realising rising casualty rates. Give me a break does everyone use the peace tower flag as an indicator? I sure don't.

    I wouldn't be upset if they did lower the flag, but I also understand the symbolism of lowering the flag only on remembrance day. Everyone just calm down.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 6:57 AM  

  • I'm still trying to figure out what the public is being "kept in the dark" about.

    The deaths aren't kept secret. They're publicized. No doubt the media will go to the funerals and have other opportunities to show the coffins.

    They can report when they came off the plane.

    I guess without those pictures, everything else is erased.

    Interesting how we don't have any "pictures" of the reconstruction going on in Iraq (and yes it's happening, on countless projects - power alone is waaaay above pre-war levels).

    In fact we don't even get stories about that.

    I guess the media is just looking for the right (liberal/anti-war/j-schoolesque) type of pictures.

    By Anonymous biff, at 7:42 AM  

  • The media generally lean left and subscribe to a school of thought that soldiers' deaths are sensless tragedies, rather than brave acts of honour.

    The type of reporting follows accordingly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:46 AM  

  • I agree with Harper re: half-masted flag on P.Hill. It cheapens the lives of way too many other casualties of all wars Canada has taken part in. It also might serve to give Rememberance Day more meaning.

    I'll go one step further and suggest that over the last few years the half-masting of flags has been overused to the point of having to ask
    "who die THIS time?" We have a national flag protocal for a reason.

    Re: media coverage of soldiers bodies being returned to Canada. Who's to say that the media is the best and most reliable source of information? Clearly on this blog we've heard more than one shot taken at how things can get twisted and turned by media? If you're one to be dependent on media for your information you'll miss the coverage , however, if you're not, you won't.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:02 AM  

  • CTV is interviewing a parent of a dead soldier saying he disaggrees with the decision not to show the coffins.

    Media Bias 101 - pick someone who agrees with your decision and interview them.

    No other parents (it's my understanding that the soldiers and families generally agree with the decision) will be interviewed on this point.

    A sample of one. And it just happens to agree with the media's views.

    That's why MSM is dying and internet news/opinion is flourishing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:45 AM  

  • The opposition is not concerned with the soldiers or the families. They see a weakness in the government position and are seeing how far they can push it. The media on the other hand is very pissed at Harper and are pulling out all the guns to take them down a notch.

    The media gets their photos at the Ramp ceremony with caskets, flags, troops on parade and the pipers lament. They do not need to be at Trenton when the families receive the body. If the families want the media they can make that choice at the private ceremony. The military has their own film crews and video can be made of the arrival to give to family members.

    This may be hard to accept but once you sign up to join the regular Navy, Army or Air Force you have agreed to the terms of unlimited liability where you can be ordered to conduct a task which may result in your death. The other half of the bargin is that if something bad happens and you survive, you are taken care of for the rest of your days (inspite of some of the bureaucrats at Veterans Affairs) or you family is taken care of if you die. So until your body is handed over to your family the military sets the rules.

    Finally it is pretty rich that the liberals and media are going on about honouring and respecting the military. Where were the hard questions when Chretian campaign about scrapping the Navy Heliocopters, soldiers at food banks, or burnout because of too many missions with too few men.

    This flag flap has gone on enough, not one military person I have talked to out here in Esquimalt is happy with what the media is pulling here. They just want them to stop.

    By Anonymous Don Mitchell, at 8:49 AM  

  • Don: The opposition is simply doing their job, and shouldn't be criticized for that. They're supposed to criticize, and this is a controversial issue that warrants advocates on both sides.

    And, yes, there is a political element here, but it's not the Liberals, and it's not the (groan) mainstream media. It's the Conservatives.

    It's clear to all involved why this policy came down. It's not respect for the soldiers who died in the past: by definition, you can't dip the flags for them on the day they die, because they already have, and Rememberance Day is the day of memorial. There's no inconsistency between the two policies.

    No, this policy came down because Harper thinks it'll help moderate the political damage from deaths in the field. Full stop. Same as the coffin thing. The timing and the enormous similarities it has to Bush's policies leave no other possibility, and while it's fine for the opposition to do their job, the job of a government is different- they really are supposed to "rise above", and Harper simply hasn't. One wonders if he even can. Certainly not Emerson.

    More importantly, it's about Harper's incredible contempt for the media, which is an important story in-and-of-itself for the implications it has for Canadian democracy.

    By Anonymous Demosthenes, at 9:20 AM  

  • Canada didn't fight World War II with the flag lowered to halfmast. We oughn't fight this one that way, either.

    The coffins and photos issue bothered me. CBC, of all people, reported this morning that most soldiers in Afghanistan support the ban - and that's good enough for me, so I won't argue against it any longer.

    By Blogger Lois, at 9:36 AM  

  • And I do say that this new Prime Minister has done vastly more to honour and support the Armed Forces than any other PM I can recall in my life, Liberal or PC.

    By Blogger Lois, at 9:37 AM  

  • Harper's media strategy may be that of the matador: wave the red cape, knowing that the bull will wear itself out in charges against a target of no value. Everybody who actually supports the troops and wants to win in Afghanistan knows that constantly lowering the flags is just as silly as keeping them lowered throughout WWII would have been. Everybody who actually supports the troops knows that Rick Mercer et al just want to damage Harper. This will not hurt the Conservatives.

    By Anonymous MarkC, at 9:54 AM  

  • And yes, Demosthenes, we know that the government wants to "moderate political damage." Once upon a time, that was known as "keeping up public morale" or "combatting defeatism". If the government is willing to send troops to fight and die in Afstan, I sure want them to take all legal means to ensure that that mission is a success. Keeping up morale at home is one way to do that.

    By Anonymous MarkC, at 10:02 AM  

  • I quite doubt that Mercer wrote that because he is trying to bring down the government. He correctly points out that the flag is lowered for many other people, surely the soldiers serving overseas deserve the same respect? It serves as an important reminder, and sometimes we forget how important these symbols are (though it is probably not lost on this government). As someone who has watched many funerals of soldiers etc. on CBC newsworld, I also feel that it should be shown on TV. The imagery is powerful, perhaps even more so than watching gunfire and soldiers in fatigues driving tanks. The soldiers are receiving a state funeral, they died serving Canada; none of this is a private affair.

    By Anonymous orangegirl, at 10:03 AM  

  • I'm sure he didn't intend to, but Mercer's post provides more support for Harper's position than anything I've read so far. After all, if lowering the flag is required for the examples he gave, wouldn't we want something better for the troops?

    By Blogger Reg, at 10:04 AM  

  • Alert The Media 1: Entertainer sides with left.

    Alert The Media 2: The face of the ineffectual One Tonne Challenge, has expectations of perpetual employment smote by newly elected CPC government and grinds axe.

    By Anonymous Dr. Strangelove, at 11:05 AM  

  • Those who support lowering the flag for soldiers, I ask why should the same honour not apply to members of the RCMP who die in the line of service? After all, they too have offered 'the ultimate sacrifice'.

    But that creates a problem: the flag will spend half its time halfway down the pole - hardly the sign of an optimistic country...

    There are more meaningful ways to honour our fallen. So let's cut down the indignant "I-am-SO-offended" rants & think of ways the feds could show respect without it becoming a political football.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:16 AM  

  • Lois:

    What exactly has the PM done so far to honour and support the troops, a visit and the flag thing aside?

    I mean, he may be more inclined to support the military that recent Prime Ministers, but that is more than a bit hyperbolistic.

    By Blogger an MP, at 11:21 AM  

  • Mercer is a Liberal publicity hound. Case closed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:22 AM  

  • this is obscene, crass, gutter level politics by Liberals . . the clue . . saying Harpe ris acting like Bush.

    Liberals haven't & don't give a flying foo-foo about the Canadian military - look at theri track record of unfunding.

    PM Cretin ONLY lowerd the flag because it was an AMERICAN friendly fire accident and he wante dto get some cheap political points on the backs of brave dead soldiers.

    You make me sick. Mercer makes me gag with.
    =====================================
    A widow over at Kate's DA Blog has the answer to you morons who are screaming Harper is doing it for Bush.
    ==========================================
    From A Canadian Forces Widow

    Yesterday I received an email that I've received permission to share. I've edited the identifying details, as the writer would like to preserve her privacy;

    Hi Kate,
    I have enjoyed your blog since discovered it during the election.

    I trust if you share any of my email that you would keep me anonymous please. I am still having *issues* to say the least with regards to my husbands death.

    [The investigation into the circumstances of his death during a training exercise] is still ongoing, at least I think it is. I have never EVER been officially updated on it. That said, the only thing that has been confirmed is there was no pilot error (important for me and my husbands memory to bring that up).

    The reason I am emailing you is the issue of banning the media from the base when the soldiers' remains are returned to their families. While my husband was not overseas, I will share with you my personal experience with the media and a very public death.

    Thankfully the media had yet to discover my house when I had to go see my husband for the first time. They found me by 6 AM the following morning. My parents had driven up immediately after my frantic phone call. My father stepped outside to get the papers and he was besieged (to say it lightly) with media camped out in my driveway! They were knocking at my door, putting the cameras on us as we opened it. There was always their cars there, with them sitting in them, waiting for someone to come or go. Phone call after phone call to the house when the lines were needed for more important issues. Our grief was made very public. I was asked if I wanted media at the funeral and I agreed to have them there. I wanted the people of Canada to know that even when Canada's sons and daughters do not go overseas, lives are put on the lone on a daily basis for the safety and security of every Canadian. To show them how the phrase "military cut backs' translates into real life in the forces. I had insisted that there not be a close up on any family member. I was sure Joe Blow watching the news did not need to see my tears, or those of my children to know we were distraught. Yet this rule was broken.

    The media also pushed for the release of the names of those killed ASAP. Why?? Does it matter to Joe Blow? Shouldn't it matter more that ALL family (not just immediate) and close friends are informed personally even by phone than to hear it on the news? Families of victims killed in auto accidents can request that the names not be released and Joe Blow doesn't complain.

    About the Peace tower and the flag flap, if anyone understand tradition it is a military member and his family. Did I expect the flag at the Peace tower to be flown at 1/2 mast for my husband?? oh hell no! But I did expect a phone call or something from our Prime Minister? Just the letter with his stamped signature would have to be good enough. He was in Europe and there is no way that letter was written there and sent to me to receive so quickly. It is also noticeable the signature is from a stamp and not hand signed. I did get a touching phone call and a lovely letter from the Governor General, HE Clarkson.

    I will end this letter now. I could go on but I am sure you don't want to hear all the sordid details of how a military widow is really treated.

    Except to add, that if I were to walk into funerals of people I didn't know stating it is my right to know who they are etc I'd be frowned on or even thrown out.


    Think of this email when you see the tape replays shot by CTV news yesterday from over the fence at CFB Trenton.

    If you've never forwarded a post from SDA to family and friends before - consider doing it with this one. The media has been screaming for tranparency. Well, let's give it to them. Turn the "camera" back on the microphone holders for a change, and let ordinary Canadians see the mob for the self-absorbed ratings vultures that they are.


    You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Politicing is ok and fun, but not on the graves of dead soldiers.

    By Anonymous Fred, at 11:30 AM  

  • I have changed my view, I don't care what the millitary thinks on the issue of the flag, Rick Mercer has spoken, and knows all. (Sarcasm)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:32 AM  

  • An MP,

    How about not using the friendly fire death of four Canadians in Afghanistan as a political prop to score points with the bigoted anti-American xenophobic section of the Canadian population also referred to as the Liberal Party's "base".

    The soldiers probably appreciate that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:37 AM  

  • Conspiracy theories and rhetoric on both sides aside, let's look at this one comment:

    "It cheapens the lives of way too many other casualties of all wars Canada has taken part in. It also might serve to give Rememberance Day more meaning."

    "Cheapens the lives"? Are war widows collecting scorecards and keeping score of which soldiers get a flag lowered? Honestly, it's not like there's a competition to see who gets the best memorial.

    Lowering the flag shouldn't be a big political deal. Stop keeping score and just lower the flag. It doesn't cheapen anyone else's death or take away from Remembrance Day.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:47 AM  

  • The extent to which people are playing politics with the deaths of these four brave and courageous men is nothing short of despicable. Shame on the media for intruding into a private ceremony and on the Liberals for trying to make political hay out of such a sensitive and personal issue.

    Jane Taber and Ujjal Dosanjh are at the very top of my shit list right now, the former for her insensitive and inappropriate "It doesn't take much effort to lower a flag" comment on Question Period on Sunday, the latter for his suggestion that Harper is taking his marching orders from the model of the President of the United States.

    By Blogger RGM, at 11:53 AM  

  • "No, this policy came down because Harper thinks it'll help moderate the political damage from deaths in the field. Full stop. Same as the coffin thing."

    Sure - great catch, Demosthenes. Of course, the media and those who oppose involvement in Afghanistan, or even military capability at all (recognizing that the former is largely a subset of the latter) want to take pictures of grieving families precisely because they will maximise the political damage from deaths in the field.

    The reasons provided for a policy of open access , from 'respect for the military' to 'letting the nation grieve our children' are specious - there is no respect when private grief is invaded and used to sell newspapers and attract viewers. How does the 'full access' crowd dare to claim the moral high ground when they are so willing to disregard the wishes of the bereaved, and so callous in pursuit of ratings and scoring cheap political points?

    By Blogger deaner, at 11:59 AM  

  • Anonymous 9:37:

    The 4 soldiers who died were the first Canadian wartime casualties since the Korean War. Chretien decided to honour them.

    You want to try to spin that as anti-Americanism????

    And you accuse Liberals of playing politics with the death of soldiers???? I would love it if the Conservatives dared to try to spin that publicly.

    The harpocrisy is astounding.

    Ted
    Cerberus

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 12:00 PM  

  • The suppression of TV coverage of deceased troops making their final trip home is sickening, and far worse than the flag debacle. Anyone with half a brain can see that it's purely about keeping those Afghan-deployment poll numbers up. On the hill yesterday Harper completely degraded himself with his bleating condemnation of Graham's 'politicizing' the issue, when the latter was clearly doing nothing of the sort.

    Revolting. And a wake-up call to those naive people, like me, who thought there was something to distinguish our political elites from their cohorts South of the border, who are even more blatant in their contempt for their troops than the Tories are for ours.

    By Blogger Valentine Hayes, at 12:06 PM  

  • Anonymous 9:37:

    The 4 Canadian soldiers who died by friendly fire were the first Canadian wartime casualties since the Korean War. Chretien decided to lower the flag to honour the extraordinary circumstances. The country was quite upset about the deaths and supported him in doing that. So did the Conservatives, by the way!

    And you would dishonour those deaths by retroactively claiming it was done for anti-Americanism???

    And you claim the Liberals are playing politics with the deaths of soldiers???

    The harpocrisy is astounding.

    Ted
    Cerberus

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 12:06 PM  

  • Sorry about the double post. The first one went screwy when I hit publish and then disappeared.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 12:08 PM  

  • Yesterday Harper gave a speech on Parliament Hill in commemoration of the Holocaust. The Canadian Press reports that Canada under Harper ...won't ignore signs of anti-Semitism, genocide or persecution unfolding in any country. "Never again can we stand by and ignore these signs of trouble when they appear in our world," Mr. Harper said.
    "We will not ignore them when they're done by Hamas. We will not ignore them when they're from the government of Iran. We will not ignore them in any part of the world. We have learned the lessons of the past. We will learn them or we will be doomed to repeat them." said Harper.

    It seems to me that it has already been decided that Canadian troupes would join in the invasion of Iran and that the Government is now preparing the Canadian public to this eventuality. Harper is clearly signaling that he intends to drag Canada into illegal pre-emptive wars and regime changes.

    By Anonymous Loraine King, at 12:16 PM  

  • Come on, Mercer is a liberal shill.

    It's obvious with comments like this from rabble.ca there are plenty of liberals who hate our military : "Well I got news for you 4 dead and 2200 to go and I hope they die and die like flies"

    Either that or they (and the media) really want the terrorists to win. Or both in my opinion.

    Why are liberals so obsessed with feeling depressed all the time? Grow some fucking balls. Keep that flag flying high.

    By Anonymous N_A, at 12:21 PM  

  • Wow. Talk about putting the horse before the wagon, Lorraine. There are so many variables in the Iran case that have yet to even be considered to be throwing around such platitudes.

    You're assuming:
    1. There will be an invasion of Iran.
    2. The UN Security Council will refuse to sanction it.
    3. The so-called "international community" will stand by and allow the Iranians to develop nuclear weapons, which they most certainly are doing.
    4. The Canadian Forces have the force capability to enter into another combat theatre.
    5. The Canadian Government will make a decision on Iran without consulting Parliament and Canadians.
    6. The Iranians themselves will not back down.

    Those are six major considerations which you are completely overlooking because you've got the idea in your head that an American-led conflict with Iran is inevitable and will, in fact, occur.

    By Blogger RGM, at 12:23 PM  

  • What the spineless majority on the left need to realize is we are in a war. A noble war unlike that going on in Iraq.

    Why do those on the left want to sit around and talk about feelings while the terrorists plot to kill us? What will it take? Do they need to fly a plane into the CN Tower? Do they need to blow up a hockey rink?

    Al Qaeda has already named Canada in it's top 5. Not because we're friends with the united states but because of our laws and our freedoms.

    By Anonymous N_A, at 12:26 PM  

  • If we’re going to lower the flag when certain parliamentary officials die then we should lower it for our soldiers. Simply because those soldiers give as much – if not more – to this country then a lot of those parliamentary officials. I know we didn’t do it during past wars, but I think we should have, and just because there’s a precedent for one type of behaviour doesn’t mean it’s always right.

    As for the coverage of the coffins returning home, I think that should be allowed because it allows the nation to see the sacrifice that the soldiers made, and it allows them to grieve with the families. That said I don’t think the media should be allowed to hound the families of the deceased, or attend the funerals. The family’s should be allowed to grieve in private, and the media should respect that.

    By Blogger A View From The Left, at 12:29 PM  

  • Ted, as much it may be satisfying to through around terms like 'harpocrit' and 'lieberal' these words have no place in a civilized discussion and I would ask that you please do not use them.

    As for the flag issue and the media ban, personally I have always been offended by pictures of politicians and media at these sort of events.

    Both the media and politicians use these events for self-interest, the media uses them to pump out more stories and get some good pictures, the politicians to rally support. I'm sure we all have had loved ones die, so I hope we could all imagine how awful we'd feel if our personal tragedy was thrust onto the front pages of every newspaper accompanied by a picture of our tear-streaked faces.

    While Harper may have other reasons for stopping this practice (I'm not inside his head and hence cannot judge his motivations - which is what we are doing here), I for one am glad that it has stopped.

    Support our troops by giving them the tools they need to complete their mission, rather than focusing on whether the flag should be up or down.

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 12:30 PM  

  • Oops... that's 'throw' not 'through' ...

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 12:31 PM  

  • n_a

    I think I have heard that story before.

    hmmm....

    What was it called? The boy that cried WMD .... err wolf?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:34 PM  

  • AViewFromTheLeft: There's never been any issues in the past with intrusion into the private grief of soldiers families. The media have behaved impeccably on these previous sad occasions.

    By Blogger Valentine Hayes, at 12:38 PM  

  • n_a @ 10:21 said: "It's obvious with comments like this from rabble.ca there are plenty of liberals who hate our military : "Well I got news for you 4 dead and 2200 to go and I hope they die and die like flies"
    Either that or they (and the media) really want the terrorists to win. Or both in my opinion."

    Thanks for posting one comment and pretending that it applies to all liberals (even though babble is an NDP site). I have a cousin in the military and I think that we're doing the right thing by being in Afghanistan so I am in full support of our troops. I want the flag to be flown at half-mast as a sign of respect to those who are willing to give their lives for their country, not because it was something the Liberals did and the Conservatives have stopped. Wanting a flag at half-mast is not anti-war, pro-terrorism, it's about respect, which is somethin you clearly know nothing about.

    Never before have I been so offended by a single comment.

    By Blogger A View From The Left, at 12:40 PM  

  • Richard: You are absolutely right. I am making a number of assumptions. I think the invasion of Iran will occur. Signs of this abound. Don't be mistaken. I am now and have always been a Bush supporter. I do base my assumptions on the recent actions of the US administration and words of the Canadian Prime Minister. How do you explain Mr. Harper's speech?

    By Anonymous loraine king, at 12:43 PM  

  • Valentine Hayes: I'm not saying that there has been a problem with the media in the past, I'm saying that's where I'd draw then line instead of where Harper's drawn the line. In my mind there's a distict difference between the media being allowed to observe the sombre ceremony of the return of the bodies of Canadian soldiers and the media being allowed to observe the funeral of those soldiers.

    By Blogger A View From The Left, at 12:46 PM  

  • I'm glad my little comment was the single most offensive comment you've ever read. Maybe your reading skills are horrible but I never pretended it applied to all liberals. I'm sure there is a decent liberal somewhere in Canada.

    By Anonymous N_A, at 12:49 PM  

  • Where oh where was Rick Mercer and all of the liberals when their party was in majority power for over a decade - and they were gutting the military
    you know
    people with guns
    our soldiers
    in our streets
    pointing our guns
    at
    you know
    liberals

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:53 PM  

  • The Legion supports Harper's position. They advocated it before it was his position. Who am I, who are we, to say their wishes are incorrect and insensitive?

    By Blogger matt, at 12:57 PM  

  • Val - you said

    "AViewFromTheLeft: There's never been any issues in the past with intrusion into the private grief of soldiers families."

    Just look up on the thread and friend has posted a Soldiers widows email from SDA.

    What more do you need to see then what was on TV last night are you that sick that you need to see the tears of the widow.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:16 PM  

  • Anonymous - I refer specifically to occasions when deceased troops are flown in from overseas.

    Can you possibly be so blinkered as to believe that Harper is motivated by a deep concern for people like the widow to whom you refer?

    She has stated for herself how politicians treat (and by extension regard) people like her.

    In addition I ask you to consider the sort of precedent this kind of Government ban can set. What are our troops over in Afghanistan for?

    By Blogger Valentine Hayes, at 1:41 PM  

  • It has only been recently that I've heard anything about the dozens of Canadian soldiers killed in the post-Yugoslavia turmoil. Why were those deaths kept so quiet,why wasn't the flag lowered for any of them?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:42 PM  

  • Dr. Strangelove

    You mean the Rick Mercer who has spent more time, on the ground with our troops in Afghanistan than any Conservative MP or Cabinet minister (hell more than all of them combined!) ?

    Yeah, why lisen to him. He's only like, talked to the troops.

    "Just look up on the thread and friend has posted a Soldiers widows email from SDA.

    What more do you need to see then what was on TV last night are you that sick that you need to see the tears of the widow."

    Just look at other threads where the family members of most other family members of the current and past fallen from Afghanistan want the media there. Andrew at BBg has a few I have one. Jim Leger liked it as did others. He was on TV last night too.

    Stop being an ass.

    This would be understandable if O'Connor had asked the families or the CF. He didn't. He made up his mind for them, without consultation and then lied about the reason - how can it be for the privacy of the families if he didn't ask the families?

    That sounds like someone playing politics to me. Shame on Gordon O'Connor and the rest of the unthinking in this thread that are taking this position as gospel simply because it was from the Conservatives that said it. Imagine what you would have said if Bill Graham had done this in November - you hypocrites would still be beside your self with hated and ander at the "damn Liebrals".

    Hypocrites, the lot of ya. Shame on all of you.

    By Blogger Mike, at 1:45 PM  

  • I am actually amazed that there is any controversy about this at all.

    Chretien was right to honour those who had fallen for their country.
    The opposition conservatives were right to call for these men to be so honoured.

    And the new government is playing US style politics in trying to diminish exposure of the public for the consequences of their activities. And, in doing so, are denying those soldiers and their families their due recognition for their sacrifice.

    It really is disgusting. And the Tories, 6 months ago, would have known it. So would their legions of apologists, six months ago. Funny how things change.

    By Anonymous mike b, at 1:59 PM  

  • From MyBlahg.com today, a quote from Hansard:

    Lowering of Flags to Half-Mast

    Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, CPC): Mr. Speaker, when I was walking to the office this morning I was actually saddened and disappointed to notice that the federal government has not recognized appropriately the tragic loss of Lieutenant Chris Saunders yesterday in the HMCS Chicoutimi.

    Therefore, I am rising today to ask unanimous consent of the House for the following motion. I move:

    That this House demand the Prime Minister instruct all federal government buildings to immediately lower all Canadian flags to half-mast to recognize the tragic death of Lieutenant Chris Saunders yesterday on the HMCS Chicoutimi.

    Hon. Eleni Bakopanos: Mr. Speaker, on a point of clarification, perhaps, did we not yesterday in the House in fact have a moment of silence? On the premise of the hon. member’s statement, I am sorry, there was in fact recognition of and respect for the family, and the opening of the member’s statement is erroneous.

    The Deputy Speaker: This is not debate. There is a point of order. There has been a motion proposed to the House. The House has heard the motion. Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion at this time?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    The Deputy Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    The Deputy Speaker: I see no dissent. The motion is adopted.

    (Motion agreed to)


    And agreed to unanimously mind you.

    Now that they are "the government", I wonder if the Conservatives are going to require Hansard transcripts to be vetted by the PMO too? Especially, when all those quotations of theirs before Harper clamped down on communication are just lying out there for anyone to read and quote back at them every single time they reverse themselves.

    Ted
    Cerberus

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 2:05 PM  

  • Amazing post Cerberus!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:10 PM  

  • I'm sure they would yank Hansard off the net if they could, Cerberus. Thankfully, The parliamentary internet is the responsibility of the speakers of the Senate and HoC.

    By Anonymous Ed King, at 2:23 PM  

  • I tihnk I speak for most Liberals when I say that is a stupid issue.

    If those idiots in our army go over to be imperial agressors for Lord Bush and have the bad luck to die, than fuck em' very much. They are not dying for my freedom, they are dying to build an oil pipeline for the corporate masters that pull the strings on this Conservative government.

    By Anonymous Proud Liberal, at 2:36 PM  

  • "I tihnk I speak for most Liberals when I say that is a stupid issue."

    Possibly.

    "If those idiots in our army go over to be imperial agressors for Lord Bush and have the bad luck to die, than fuck em' very much."

    I think (or at least, I certainly hope) that you ceased to speak for "most Liberals" (or liberals, or anyone else for that matter) immediately before you typed the word "idiots."

    By Blogger deaner, at 2:44 PM  

  • Wow, PL, you are a fast learner, Dear Leader would be proud: if you are too gutless and cowardly to respond to criticim, invent new critics who are easily discredited! Next you'll be saying we should "cut and run" or maybe I missed that one already, I don't come here very often.

    By Anonymous Ed King, at 2:56 PM  

  • Well, so much for Rick Mercer cozying up the Conservatives. To think I thought him and Rona were hitting it off a couple weeks ago....

    By Anonymous ®oby, at 3:01 PM  

  • CG,

    Even when I do not agree, I often respect your views. However, on this one, I disagree with both you and Rick Mercer.

    There is no question that Prime Minister Harper has it right. How can anyone possibly suggest that a grieving military family should not be allowed to have a period of privacy to deal with a loved one's death? It is normally taken for granted that the media does not have the right to act like a bunch of vultures in the case of a traffic accident. Why should a soldier killed in battle not be given the same respect?

    As for all the garbage about freedom of the press, gimme a break! No one is suggesting that the government will not announce when a soldier is killed. But that does not mean that the media has the right to know the names of soldiers before their families have been informed, or that somehow we must feed the voracious appetities of 24 hour news channels looking for photos to sell ads. Some things are best left private. Pictures of a grieving family are one of them.

    By Anonymous Two Cents, at 3:03 PM  

  • The problem isn't the idea-it's that the execution has been badly bungled.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:05 PM  

  • I have two question?
    1. Was the flag lowered during WWII every time a soldier died.
    2. With all due respect, will lowering the flag bring these dead soldiers back to life?

    By Anonymous E J Hosdil, at 3:13 PM  

  • To person posting as a "proud liberal".

    I think President Harper is a saint to be so patient with the treasonous left. If I was him I would arrest all the granola eating commies and their left wing MSM allies for demoralizing our troops with debates, reminders and pictures of our dead. This is a time of WAR damn it, we can not allow any disagreement! Debate and disagreement provides comfort to the enemy, and anyone that engages in it is not supporting the troops.

    Why are the lefty's disagreeing with President Harper anyways? The Fiberals lost the last election, we won 20 more seats than them! They should just shut up and know their place, which is to follow blindly with everything the President says. The unionized commie pinko socialist feminist lefties are destroying this country!

    Proud Conservative.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:14 PM  

  • Ted, please note that the proposal for the flag lowering was made by a Conservative MP, not Harper himself.

    When it was done, I saw it for what it was, a cheap way to score political points. No one could vote against it because they would be painted as anti-military.

    In any case, I'd encourage you all to see the list I've compiled on my blog concerning this whole thing.

    Its not like this is the first time I've disagreed with something a Conservative MP has said... take Garth Turner's "buy Nortel" comments for example...

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 3:21 PM  

  • By nationally mourning the loss of every single soldier we render our military useless.

    No longer could our troops carry out offensive missions against our enemies, knowing full well that some would be killed and the country would have to prostrate itself on the ground and thrash and moan at the loss of a soldier.

    Newsflash! Soldiers die. That is part of the job description. It is called unlimited liability.

    Soldiers are honourable canadians who volunteer to die for their country. But do not ask me to mourn the loss of every single soldier.

    Our commanders must remain free to lose soldiers in the course of completing a mission or winning a war. Some casualties are acceptable.

    An individual soldier is more an asset than a person. Get over it.

    We are winning battles and doing good work in afstan but all the press focusses on is the remarkably few casualties.

    I dont mind losing soldiers to achieve missions and win battles. So this country needs to grow up and stop trying to out-grieve themselves.

    Not all soldiers are heroes. Not all dead soldiers are heroes. Some are just doing their job.

    By Anonymous Colin, at 3:40 PM  

  • Colin said:
    "I dont mind losing soldiers to achieve missions and win battles."

    Spoken like a true right winger. A brave and fearless soul who spends his days in a basement bunker wearing a dirty bathrobe, eating stale dorritos, and swilling down warm root beer.


    http://centreofcanada.blogspot.com/

    By Blogger Don, at 4:18 PM  

  • So Don all you can do is slander me and call me names but you cant refute anything I said.

    Sad to be you.

    Say something constructive and disagree with me on point, until then bugger off.

    By Anonymous Colin, at 4:22 PM  

  • Colin

    I think he is suggesting a person so bravely willing to accept the loss of soldier lives should be willing to make the sacrifice himself.

    Why don’t you post your contact information, I would gladly forward it to CF recruitment, I sure they would be interested in you and your children, my dear keyboard commando.

    If you are going to post that you are in military, provide proof.

    I personally do not have such a callous disregard for the lives of Canadians that die in service to our nation. I consider each of them heros, not just some punk kid who died doing his job.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:49 PM  

  • "By nationally mourning the loss of every single soldier we render our military useless."

    NO YOU DIMWITTED CLOWN WE HONOUR THEM FOR THEIR SACRIFICE.

    No longer could our troops carry out offensive missions against our enemies, knowing full well that some would be killed and the country would have to prostrate itself on the ground and thrash and moan at the loss of a soldier.

    FALSE PREMISE. MUDDLED THINKING. OVERSTATED AND UNDERTHOUGHT.

    Newsflash! Soldiers die. That is part of the job description. It is called unlimited liability.

    AREN'T YOU SWEET. CALLED THE LATEST BEREAVED YET WITH THAT NEWS? SOLDIERS DIE SO DON'T WHINE.
    YOU'RE A TWIT. AND IN REAL LIFE PROBABLY A PHYSICAL COWARD.

    Soldiers are honourable canadians who volunteer to die for their country. But do not ask me to mourn the loss of every single soldier.

    THE ONLY THING YOU OBVIOUSLY MOURN IS AN EMPTY DORRITO BAG.

    Our commanders must remain free to lose soldiers in the course of completing a mission or winning a war. Some casualties are acceptable.

    BY WHO? AND I SUPPOSE AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT ONE OF THEM. ASSHAT.


    An individual soldier is more an asset than a person. Get over it.

    ANOTHER NUGGET YOU SHOULD IMMEADIATELY COMMUNICATE TO THE PARENTS, WIVES, AND CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED.

    We are winning battles and doing good work in afstan but all the press focusses on is the remarkably few casualties.

    BECAUSE THEY WERE INDIVIDUALS, WITH LIVES, HOPES AND DREAMS. THEY GAVE THAT UP FOR US, WHICH UNFORTUNATELY INCLUDES AN UNGRATEFUL CLOD LIKE YOU.

    I dont mind losing soldiers to achieve missions and win battles. So this country needs to grow up and stop trying to out-grieve themselves.

    ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF YOU BEING AN ASSHOLE.

    Not all soldiers are heroes. Not all dead soldiers are heroes. Some are just doing their job.

    SO FUCK'EM ALL? WHAT A DICK!

    http://centreofcanada.blogspot.com/

    By Blogger Don, at 4:58 PM  

  • Okay, so we should lower the Peace Tower flag for soldiers killed in combat, who gave their lives defending their country. What about soldiers killed overseas in non-combat accidents? What about soldiers killed in training accidents here in Canada? Are they not dying in the service of their country? What about police officers killed in the line of duty? What about the poor guy killed on the job building a highway? Is he not worthy of the nation's gratitude?

    Someone please explain where the line should be drawn. Who should be the one to hear "sorry, your loved one just didn't quite make the cut"?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:19 PM  

  • Don you fucking asshole.

    If I ever have the misfortune to meet you somewhere in wpg where I live too I will show you I am not a coward.

    I am not military I chose not to give my life over to the military.

    I am not communicating with the individual families. They lost something, not me. I lost nothing.

    "Newsflash! Soldiers die. That is part of the job description. It is called unlimited liability.

    AREN'T YOU SWEET. CALLED THE LATEST BEREAVED YET WITH THAT NEWS? SOLDIERS DIE SO DON'T WHINE.
    YOU'RE A TWIT. AND IN REAL LIFE PROBABLY A PHYSICAL COWARD."

    Again you couldnt refute the argument so you resorted to really offensive name calling.

    Our army is voluntary. These guys join knowing they could be killed in action. Our military honours them everyday, their families honour them too.

    The nation DOES NOT have to mourn individual soldiers.

    Fuck off and die you pathetic piece of human garbage.

    By Anonymous Colin, at 5:20 PM  

  • Colin

    Did you run out of Dorrito?

    By any chance Colin do you know what a Chickenhawk is ?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:34 PM  

  • Refute your argument? I hadn't realized you had made one. Oh wait, here it is:

    No longer could our troops carry out offensive missions against our enemies, knowing full well that some would be killed and the country would have to prostrate itself on the ground and thrash and moan at the loss of a soldier.

    So, the "argument" goes like this. Our troops cannot carry on offensive missions because they would know that, if they died, the country would have to, and I quote, "prostrate itself on the ground and thrash and moan."

    At what point did you think that the above rambling merited a "rebuttal"?

    By Anonymous mike b, at 5:34 PM  

  • Colin

    Did you run out of Dorrito?

    By any chance Colin do you know what a Chickenhawk is ?

    By Anonymous, at 3:34 PM

    What does that have to do with anything?

    Anonymous coward.

    By Anonymous Colin, at 5:39 PM  

  • To wade in, the Peace Tower flag fiasco isn't a huge deal in my opinion. The optics are awful, but if they want to go back to the old policy, I don't have a huge problem with that. Harper does look like an idiot on it though, since his party has spent the past few years arguing that the flags should be lowered, and I haven't really seen any legitimate explanation for the flip flop.

    A media blackout on the returning coffins is bad in my opinion. They didn't talk to the families about it, and most who I have heard have said they'd prefer the cameras to be there. And it's not like the media wouldn't be respectful. They can be roped off at an appropriate distance.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:43 PM  

  • CG,
    You are doing a great service. If it wasn't for your blog the individuals who are ranting in the comments would probably kick their dog and beat up their spouse and kids. Some of them sound like really brave and intelligent people...NOT. It is obvious that no one taught them about RESPECT. The whole issue of the flag and caskets is about just that.

    It is interesting that the soldiers who died were good enough for Harper to use for a photo op but not good enough to be properly thanked for their sacrify.

    For those Cons who like to continously refer to past Liberal governments as having gutted the military, you may not be aware that Canadian soldiers are continously praised by our allies for being some of the best trained in the world. You don't achieve that without the support of your government. And by the way, it was a Liberal government who committed our current involvement in Afganistan. So the flag and coffin issue is not about trying to reduce support for Canda's involvement but to show the proper respect to those that are putting their lives on the line.

    By Anonymous aloneinmacleod, at 5:55 PM  

  • CG,

    How do you know they didn't talk to the families about it?

    By Anonymous Pingo, at 6:09 PM  

  • Colin

    "Anonymous coward."

    You act like "colin" is less anonymous.

    Ok big guy, why don't you post your full name and contact info.

    I am sure we can arrange to have someone meet you in wpg as per your 3:20 post.

    You sound like a big strong guy who should be able to handle himself eh?

    You don't really need to respond to this, we all know your a chicken shit keyboard commando.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:11 PM  

  • lol at an anonymous poster if colin is a "chicken shit keyboard commando" what does that make you?

    brave, valourous fighter for truth and justice? or just another web surfer staring at a screen like everyone else?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:24 PM  

  • Interesting debate and one that I hope grounds to a halt quickly. There is something to be said for tradition, although not all are valiant or done with impugnable intent. As mentioned, the way that Harper and O'Connor meted out their decision is what has caused so much anger and vitrol. Had they announced this in week 2 of their gov't and explained to the press and public that their reasons were honourable and that they just wanted to honour the tradition/not score points on the opposition and provide families with some key private moments/muzzle the press on the growing casualties, it could have blown over in a day or two.
    Instead, people are now livid on both sides of the equation. Harper is a hypocrite. The Liberals are hypocrites. The press is also hypocritical. But there is also possibly honourable intention from all three.
    But you cannot remove the appearance of arrogance and unilateral heavy-handedness from the prime minister now. As Ricky Ricardo once said, "You have some 'splainin' to do..."

    By Anonymous moquitlam, at 6:25 PM  

  • 4:24

    With all due respect, I am not the one saying I could kick don ass, colin is.

    I am not the one calling someone an "anonymous coward" while essentially posting anonymously himself.

    Colin is prime example of a chickenhawk conservative. You are more than welcome to side with him.

    He is the one claiming to have alot of "real world" bravado, I am just pointing out he isn't backing that up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:38 PM  

  • "this is obscene, crass, gutter level politics by Liberals..."

    You know you've scored a point when you get a response like this.

    deaner: the media covers it because it's a story, just as they covered the Boxing Day gang shooting in Toronto because it's a story. It's their job, and while it's not always a comfortable one, it is a necessary one. While I and everybody else can sympathize with the widow in "fred"'s post, there are very real and very important reasons why the government shouldn't be allowed to hide the ramifications of its policies. Transparency about the cost in money is nothing compared to transparency about the cost in lives.

    By the by, the cavalier attitude towards the loss of life displayed by the conservatives in this thread is both illuminating and deeply disappointing. Even implying "Let 'em die, they knew what they were getting into" is reprehensible.

    By Anonymous Demosthenes, at 6:39 PM  

  • Lorraine,
    I guess I've just read the tea leaves a little differently than you have regarding the future of Iran. I'm in full support of the Bush Administration's policy on Iran and I hope that they're able to resolve this one with the use of force. It's already a tough spot being tied down in Iraq as they are, another conflict would stretch them even thinner.

    By Blogger RGM, at 6:43 PM  

  • 4:38

    I'm not siding with anyone and I agree that he was acting like an ass, but talking about posting contact information and meeting on the street is showing the same false pathetic bravado that he is. In addition to the hypocrisy of criticizing him for it of course......

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:53 PM  

  • demothenes im sorry but wtf is the government hiding? what information could you have possibly obtained from observing the repatriation ceremony that you did not already have?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:55 PM  

  • "...there are very real and very important reasons why the government shouldn't be allowed to hide the ramifications of its policies."

    I guess I missed something - Harper has announced that newspapers aren't allowed to cover service deaths in Afghanistan? Editorialists and columnists cannot mention the country? I don't see that trying to preserve some privacy in grief is 'hiding the ramifications of policy.' For that matter, I don't see that a telephoto shot of a sobbing widow and bewildered children is particularly 'reporting in the public interest,' either.

    As it stands now the media can televise events in Afghanistan - services, memorials, and loading of caskets; they are excluded from the receipt of the caskets in Canada. While that is the most emotional and striking image (and hence the one that the media wants to put on the front page / lead the 6:00 newscast with), excluding that hardly qualifies as supressing the public's right to know. The media has all the visuals they need (to the extent they need visuals) and an unfettered right to comment on the issue. I really think the 'press freedom' angle is a rationalization for some people's need to score political points over the death of Canadian servicemen and women, and for the media to draw ratings or circulation.

    By Blogger deaner, at 6:58 PM  

  • I think a lot of Lib asshole posters had better learn that the death of an individual soldier is NOT a national tragedy.

    It is a personal tragedy for friends and relatives not the country.

    Anyone defending Don is a puke. Don has the intellectual capacity of a fruit fly. Or a fruitty fly for SSM proponents. He attacks instead of refuting.

    Chickehhawk? You mean the opposite of a military hating Liberal like Carolyn Parrish? Hey I'll take that.

    Insults fly a lot in here but no-one is refuting my points.

    By Anonymous Colin, at 7:10 PM  

  • i'm sorry colin but the death of a soldier is a national tragedy. but also a tragedy is the msm and the libs using that death as a political football to score cheap points

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:14 PM  

  • 4:53 PM

    I don't recall saying I would meet him on a street corner?

    I just said that I am sure someone can be found to accomodate colin the tough guy.

    There is no hypocrisy in that.

    I am not the one pretending to be the machoman, colin is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:14 PM  

  • colin

    You have no points. All you do is swear, threaten and hide.

    "Don has the intellectual capacity of a fruit fly."

    that's rich. :) You should be envious.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:18 PM  

  • By the way, was the prime minister at Trenton yesterday?

    By Anonymous Loraine King, at 7:49 PM  

  • Oops... I just read a report that Harper was not at Trenton. Now I understand...

    By Anonymous Loraine King, at 7:58 PM  

  • I must say that I fail to see how public displays such as lowing the flag or not covering the return of the bodies undermines support for the war. Honouring a fallen soldier is simply an act of tribute for their sacrafice. Casualty counts could undermine support, remembering the fallen won't

    By Blogger Small Town Shyster, at 9:16 PM  

  • I'm seriously going to hunt this Don queer guy down and beat him.


    I bet he cries.

    By Anonymous colin, at 9:53 PM  

  • Oh yeah,


    I wet the bed and my favorite band in the whole world is classic N'sync.

    Justin Timberlake is sexy hot!

    IMHO!

    By Anonymous colin, at 10:14 PM  

  • Typical Liberal posters. If you cant win an argument just insult people and bluster.

    Thank god you guys are in opposition and some people with credibility and ability are now in charge.

    The flag will fly high and we will not allow the deaths of a few soldiers to shake the countries confidence. Go ahead and grieve for people you've never met. Try to feel their pain. Think about how superior that makes you to me.

    If you people were in charge the Taliban would have that flag going up and down like a yo-yo. Cheering our weakness everytime they killed someone.

    By Anonymous Colin, at 11:50 PM  

  • Well , CG, you've got this one wrong. And Mercer is simply a clown.

    Read the following letter sent to Kate at SDA from an "expert" on this matter. Then you can appologize for your mistake.

    "Yesterday I received an email that I've received permission to share. I've edited the identifying details, as the writer would like to preserve her privacy;

    Hi Kate,
    I have enjoyed your blog since discovered it during the election.

    I trust if you share any of my email that you would keep me anonymous please. I am still having *issues* to say the least with regards to my husbands death.

    [The investigation into the circumstances of his death during a training exercise] is still ongoing, at least I think it is. I have never EVER been officially updated on it. That said, the only thing that has been confirmed is there was no pilot error (important for me and my husbands memory to bring that up).

    The reason I am emailing you is the issue of banning the media from the base when the soldiers' remains are returned to their families. While my husband was not overseas, I will share with you my personal experience with the media and a very public death.

    Thankfully the media had yet to discover my house when I had to go see my husband for the first time. They found me by 6 AM the following morning. My parents had driven up immediately after my frantic phone call. My father stepped outside to get the papers and he was besieged (to say it lightly) with media camped out in my driveway! They were knocking at my door, putting the cameras on us as we opened it. There was always their cars there, with them sitting in them, waiting for someone to come or go. Phone call after phone call to the house when the lines were needed for more important issues. Our grief was made very public. I was asked if I wanted media at the funeral and I agreed to have them there. I wanted the people of Canada to know that even when Canada's sons and daughters do not go overseas, lives are put on the lone on a daily basis for the safety and security of every Canadian. To show them how the phrase "military cut backs' translates into real life in the forces. I had insisted that there not be a close up on any family member. I was sure Joe Blow watching the news did not need to see my tears, or those of my children to know we were distraught. Yet this rule was broken.

    The media also pushed for the release of the names of those killed ASAP. Why?? Does it matter to Joe Blow? Shouldn't it matter more that ALL family (not just immediate) and close friends are informed personally even by phone than to hear it on the news? Families of victims killed in auto accidents can request that the names not be released and Joe Blow doesn't complain.

    About the Peace tower and the flag flap, if anyone understand tradition it is a military member and his family. Did I expect the flag at the Peace tower to be flown at 1/2 mast for my husband?? oh hell no! But I did expect a phone call or something from our Prime Minister? Just the letter with his stamped signature would have to be good enough. He was in Europe and there is no way that letter was written there and sent to me to receive so quickly. It is also noticeable the signature is from a stamp and not hand signed. I did get a touching phone call and a lovely letter from the Governor General, HE Clarkson.

    I will end this letter now. I could go on but I am sure you don't want to hear all the sordid details of how a military widow is really treated.

    Except to add, that if I were to walk into funerals of people I didn't know stating it is my right to know who they are etc I'd be frowned on or even thrown out.

    Think of this email when you see the tape replays shot by CTV news yesterday from over the fence at CFB Trenton.

    If you've never forwarded a post from SDA to family and friends before - consider doing it with this one. The media has been screaming for tranparency. Well, let's give it to them. Turn the "camera" back on the microphone holders for a change, and let ordinary Canadians see the mob for the self-absorbed ratings vultures that they are.
    Posted by Kate at 10:06 AM | Comments (114) | TrackBack (3)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:38 AM  

  • Well, looks like the letter from the widow is being used as some mighty fine astroturfing fodder. Pathetic.

    deaner: either you have freedom of the press, or you don't. Unless it's a national security issue (which it isn't), the government has no good reason stopping the press from doing their job, as inconvenient as it might be.

    (Yes, it paints Harper in the worst light. That's their job- to reveal things that the powerful would rather you not know.)

    Colin: you honestly have no idea what a chickenhawk is, do you? What are you, twelve?

    (No, they know how google works.)

    Yes, the death of a soldier is a national tragedy, because they died in the service of their country. They knew what they were getting into, but so should Canadians, and not glossing over the sacrifice is the best way of ensuring that Canadians help them to get the mission done with the fewest amounts of sacrifices possible.

    The days of remote, disinterested leaders--that think like these callous idiots--throwing men at machine guns are over. They're over for damned good reason, but it shouldn't be forgotten that they have every possibility of returning, unless the people ensure otherwise.

    By Anonymous Demosthenes, at 2:22 AM  

  • Isn't it interesting that those who most likely feel that soldiers are dying senseless deaths, purportedly feel the need to continually "honour" them with the constant lowering of flags?

    I suspect it's more like promoting what they view as the senselessness and utter tragedy of a soldier dying.

    Which is pretty much the opposite of honouring them and what they believed in.

    Dead soldiers make such good props don't they.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:03 AM  

  • I find colin faintly amusing as he lays down his bold challenges and threats, here and on my blog. Alas, they are all anonymous.
    Question? Should naughty 12 year olds be spanked or merely made to stand in the cornerfor a day or so?

    http://centreofcanada.blogspot.com/

    By Blogger Don, at 8:48 AM  

  • This is a prime example of a PMO that just doesn't understand communications management.

    If, as some suspect, the Harper government expects casualties to mount and wants to both ease the media coverage of grieving military families AND dampen the scrutiny of its Afghanistan policy, it stands to reason that it should clamp down on the repatriation ceremonies. Or, at least, that's what the Harper Whiz Kids are telling themselves.

    But...this has blown up in their faces - and it didn't have to.

    Clearly, the Harperites don't understand the media.

    If the old media coverage policy had been kept, and casualties/deaths spiked in the coming months, sure, you'd see some heightened coverage - but only in the short term. Anyone who has worked in the media, or has studied it, knows that reporters and editors can easily tire of covering a static, by-the-numbers event in which they have little direct interaction with (such as, um, the repatriation ceremonies).

    I have little doubt these events would have continued to be leading news stories every day...but now, of course, by locking out the media, Harper has further engraged them, and made what was a standard, respectful (and likely soon to be downplayed) event into paparazzi-like peep show.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:31 AM  

  • "I have little doubt these events would have continued to be leading news stories every day...but now, of course, by locking out the media, Harper has further engraged them, and made what was a standard, respectful (and likely soon to be downplayed) event into paparazzi-like peep show."

    Oops...what I should have said is that I doubt these events would have continued to be leading news stories every day.

    Bottom line: the media would have moved onto something else on its own.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:37 AM  

  • Three thoughts:

    1. I don't care much about either issue. If Harper's flag policy respects that of the Royal Canadian Legion, fine by me (btw, are they included in the "legions of tory apologists" referenced in a post above?). Conversely, the "temporary" policy didn't bother me at all. What bothers me is, as Kinsella notes today, using the issue as political cannon fodder.

    2. If the government says media can go to the departure of the soliders' bodies, but is over-sensitive to widows and mothers intimidated by the prospect of sobbing on national tv upon the soldiers' return, I'm ok with that. Barring the media wasn't the solution, however; giving them a nice, designated area out of the way would have been.

    3. I think people love to have something this small and petty to obsess over. It's a relief after hearing election histrionics about widespread corruption and the imminent theft of one's basic human rights for three years.

    By Blogger matt, at 10:53 AM  

  • As Christie Blatchford says, the media does not have the moral authority to complain. Nor does any M.P. who voted for the erosion of military funding.

    By Blogger Joanne (True Blue), at 11:45 AM  

  • "Barring the media wasn't the solution, however; giving them a nice, designated area out of the way would have been."

    Essentially, that's what they have done - the media are free to take whatever prictures they want (yes, Demosthenes; there's that freedom of the press thing again) - they are just not free to move onto DND property at Trenton. As seen on the return of bodies of the four recent casualties, they just used long(er) lenses from outside the perimeter.

    By Blogger deaner, at 11:49 AM  

  • Deaner: my point is that to avoid this stupid, stupid, arrogant, navel-gazing, self-important issue from dominating headlines, someone ought to have put the media on the other side of that fence.

    In other words, you and I disagree by about 6 ft.

    But again, I really don't care, although I'm sure the families who were there do.

    By Blogger matt, at 12:27 PM  

  • Deaner: You are absolutely right. I saw the CTV broadcast of the arrival of the coffins at CFB Trenton just as well as I have seen them in the past when the media was allowed in. The only difference was that this Prime Minister, unlike his predecessors, chose not to attend. To Liberal haters, those who think one's a Conservative or one's an enemy, would you be kind enough to please answer this question for me? Considering the number of casualties suffered thus far in this mission, why would the Government feel it necessary to bring in at this precise time this controversial change? Why not two weeks ago, or next week, or two weeks from now? Why this timing? Does the PMO not realize that families of the deceased have enough to cope with already?

    By Anonymous Loraine King, at 12:29 PM  

  • Matt - or two metres.
    ;)
    Loraine - yes, the timing and presentation of this decision were poor. It would have been much better if O'Connor had announced this -say- three weeks ago; but he didn't. It may have been better to leave things as they were and see how it went over this past week; but that exposes the risk that the families of the four soldiers concerned would be hounded, have their privacy intruded-upon, and so on. After allowing it once, it is more difficult to change policy subsequently.

    By Blogger deaner, at 1:06 PM  

  • I find colin faintly amusing as he lays down his bold challenges and threats, here and on my blog. Alas, they are all anonymous.
    Question? Should naughty 12 year olds be spanked or merely made to stand in the cornerfor a day or so?

    http://centreofcanada.blogspot.com/

    Don, I have never knowingly visited your blog, nor do I intend to.

    ONce again all you have to offer are insults. Suffice it to say that is all you have ever had to offer. Any chance you have had to offer up concrete, well thought out ideas you have chosen to take the low road.

    I never did challenge you directly instead you inferred that I must be some kind of coward. Having never met me you have no credibility in the matter. I merely said that I'm not afraid of Liberal bloggers and left wing supporters. They tend to be mindless drones of the big red machine. Nothing more than annoyingly squeaky cogs.

    If you chose to say something, anything intelligent perhaps I will respond. Further insults demean you and expose you for the fraud you are.

    I will finish by once again insulting all those who think that a country must publicly recognize all dead service personell. You profess to care about our troops yet you continually voted for a party that refused to properly equip them or recognize that they do more than peacekeep around the world. An army kills and its soldiers sometimes die. How soft we have become in our many years of peace.

    Grow a backbone folks. Life is messy. The flag stays up as a symbol of our National Resolve. We will not allow terrorists and despotic regimes to bully us into submission. We will use our military wisely and will appropriately recognize the losses on Nov. 11th.

    enough said.

    By Anonymous Colin, at 1:12 PM  

  • Deaner: You can speculate all you want about the invasion of the families' privacy. And so can I, so I'll speculate that the timing of this has more to do with the Prime Minister choosing not to be at Trenton than anything else.(He was in Ottawa giving a speech on Holocaust Remembrence Day.) I think the PM's handlers figured Harper's absence from Trenton would be too evident to those who have watched these ceremonies in the past, which Martin and Chrétien attended. Evidently, to those in the PMO the image of the PM trumps the dignity of dead soldiers and their family. The Government's timing is insulting.

    By Anonymous Loraine King, at 1:19 PM  

  • As I said...faintly amusing.

    By Blogger Don, at 1:40 PM  

  • "...the timing of this has more to do with the Prime Minister choosing not to be at Trenton than anything else.(He was in Ottawa giving a speech on Holocaust Remembrence Day.)"

    Which had no doubt been arranged well before the soldiers involved were killed. Harper is in a bit of a lose-lose on attending the repatriation of their remains, don't you think? If he doesn't attend, you think it is too apparent and he is being disrespectful. If he does attend then he has cancelled a scheduled engagement (and one held to commemorate the worst atrocity of the past century: he is hardly cancelling a rotary-club lunch) - which would (fairly) be seen as an attempt to politicize the deaths of four young soldiers. Given that there was no "good" alternative, I would be surprised if the decision was made simply to camouflage Harper's attendance of non-attendance when the caskets were brought down the ramp.

    As you say, we are both speculating in any event, and we will never know, unless there is a tell-all book being compiled "as we speak."

    By Blogger deaner, at 3:36 PM  

  • Deaner: If the PM could not make it because, as is likely the case, his Holocaust speech had been scheduled ahead of time, it's a good reason for him not to be at Trenton. However, why choose to announce a change of policy at this precise moment? I still think it would have been more appropriate to wait. Those families have enough to deal with. They didn't need to be thrown into this controversy by an image-conscious PMO.

    By Anonymous Loraine King, at 4:03 PM  

  • (just to play devil's advocate)

    or an image-unconcious PMO, who didn't avoid doing what it thought was the right thing because the media might be miffed.

    By Blogger matt, at 9:34 PM  

  • Matt: Since 2002 fifteen Canadians have died in Afghanistan, or about four a year. Why then would the government choose precisely the moment of the repatriation of four deads to announce a change in policy? Why not two weeks ago or two weeks from now? Because, if I understand you well, playing tricks with the media is more important to this government than showing decency and humanity towards these family. I believe they have =enough to cope with. They had no need to burry their dead sons in a PMO-engineered controversy.

    By Anonymous Loraine King, at 6:11 AM  

  • super blog...keep it up, will check back again for updates - general conference of seventh day adventist

    pay that page a visit as well

    By Blogger Gospel Music, at 2:39 AM  

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