Friday, December 11, 2009

"Mr. McKay! Someone on the Internet agrees with you!"

I've generally found Jane Taber's new "morning buzz" blog to be an interesting read and I've bookmarked it.

However, I do have to take issue with her first point today:

But [Peter MacKay's] office is taking some solace now in what Canadians outside of the Ottawa bubble are saying. In fact, his staff found this comment on Aaron Wherry's latest Question Period sketch at Maclean's, which they showed to the minister:

“I’m sure there are a few other examples of suspected or confirmed Taliban who passed through the hands of Canadian forces before being beaten by their fellow Afghans wearing uniforms. There are also millions of examples of Afghans who were beaten by fellow Afghans without ever coming into contact with a Canadian – but we don’t care about those people, because they’re irrelevant. We only care about the three or four that could possibly prove useful in the eternal quest to embarrass the Canadian government. This is about politics, not morality.”

Now, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Canadians outside the Ottawa bubble are rather blasé about this story - it doesn't affect their lives personally, so I'm not sure this will be much of a game changer. MacKay comes across looking rather bad, but he certainly wouldn't be the first Harper Cabinet Minister to be shuffled out of his portfolio for gross incompetence.

I would, however, like to caution Mr. McKay's staff and Jane Taber that those outside the Ottawa bubble do not tend to read recaps of Question Period. They probably don't post on them, and they certainly aren't people who have left 2,258 comments on the site.

I guess this is a step up from the annoying "people I talk to in my riding" anecdotes politicians are so fond of but, truth be told, the taxi driver or waiter in an MPs home riding is a lot more indicative of "outside the Ottawa bubble" thought than what bloggers and fanatical blog readers are saying.

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  • "This is about politics, not morality."

    Of course it is. Does anyone ever stand up in the House and ask about physical and sexual abuse in Canada's prisons? Does anyone ask about abuse of prisoners in China or Cuba?
    This is about trying to score points, not prisoner's rights. But are the Liberals not setting themselves up to have Iggy's views on torture thrown back at them?

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 8:57 p.m.  

  • I believe Critical Reasoning, author of the comment, lives in Calgary.

    By Blogger Jack Mitchell, at 2:31 a.m.  

  • CalgGrit - the media do their year-end analysis kinda thing about politicans - perhaps a year-end analysis of journalists would be in order.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:30 a.m.  

  • "Three or four," that's rich. A sleazy device to minimize the problem without offering a shred of proof.

    A great many of us do care about those other Afghans who have no dealings with Canadian troops.

    We care about pubescent teen girls held in jail outside the gates to Camp Kandahar for refusing their fathers' wishes to sell them in marriage to other 50-year old lechers.

    We care about little boys ass-raped by Afghan police, the subject of complaints by Canadian soldiers denied by Conservative cabinet members.

    We care about women legislators who can't travel to their own ridings except under concealment and in secrecy.

    Some of us care enough to know names like Dostum, Fahim, Hekmatyar, Shirzai and Haqqani and what those names really mean.

    Some of us care deeply about this whole rotten, festering shithole of a government in Kabul that another thoroughly rotten government in Ottawa is happily propping up.

    By Blogger The Mound of Sound, at 11:35 a.m.  

  • Id like to think people care about the morality of the issue, not the politics.... but, I can't say I have the same optimism for most of the MPs in Parliament.

    By Anonymous Jason Bo Green, at 1:04 p.m.  

  • "ask about physical and sexual abuse in Canada's prisons"

    Some examples:

    By Blogger ChrisInKW, at 6:45 p.m.  

  • The MPs in the Opposition benches don't seem concerned about the torture (according to their definition) that goes on at the hands of Canadian police.

    I believe the public at large hold a different view of what constitutes torture.

    And Canadians seem to understand that the evidence does not support the claim that every single detainee handed over by Canadian Forces in Afghanistan was tortured, despite the Liberals claiming that was the case.

    By Blogger Paul, at 5:41 p.m.  

  • Paul, I was watching minister MacKay on CPAC and saw him assure the Commons committee that the Afghan Independent Human Rights Organization was now keeping an eye on things so there are no worries. It's too bad no one read te AIHRO's report on prison torture.

    The organization surveyed Afghan gaolers from prisons and detention centres. Barely one out of six understood that torture was illegal. When five out of six don't know that it explains how the AIHRO was able to warn that torture in Afghan prisons is "commonplace."

    In most cases torture is used for the time-honoured purpose of extracting confessions (that's how "all" these detainees become "Taliban"). In these detention centres, however, it's also used to extort payments from the captive's family.

    "The evidence doesn't support..." What evidence Paul, the bullshit stories spun by our politicians and generals?

    If the AIHRO is good enough for Peter MacKay, it's good enough for me. Their evidence is painfully clear.

    By Blogger The Mound of Sound, at 6:52 p.m.  

  • If the AIHRO report really were good enough for you, then you would acknowledge that it says that the majority of cases of torture reported by interviewees occured at the hands of the (Afghan) police.

    And that not even the AIHRO report goes so far as to claim that every prisoner (or every prisoner handed over by Canadian forces) was tortured, as Colvin claimed and the Liberals profess.

    And that's after the AIRHO report makes clear its definition of torture "also includes ... slapping, humliliation and the like"

    How many people in Canadian prisons would claim they were never punched, kicked, slapped, or humiliated in any way at the hands of the police or prison officials?

    By Blogger Paul, at 2:16 p.m.  

  • who is this mysterious Mr McKay?? why I never heard about him?? strage, so strange

    By Anonymous custom research paper, at 10:31 a.m.  

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