‘A negotiated release of the hostages was preferable to just about every other conceivable option’

by Aaron Wherry

With confirmation that four al-Qaeda prisoners and several million dollars were exchanged for Canadian diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay, here again is the transcript from the Prime Minister’s press conference on the afternoon of April 22, announcing Fowler and Guay’s release.

Moderator: Folks, thanks for coming this evening at the last minute here.   Prime Minister Stephen Harper is going to make a statement in both French and English.  Prime Minister, over to you.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Thank you very much, Richard.  A long day but they’re never too long when they end well.

Ce soir nous sommes tous grandement soulagés d’avoir reçu la confirmation du président du Mali que les deux diplomates canadiens, Robert Fowler et Louis Guay ont été libérés par leurs ravisseurs.  Les deux diplomates sont maintenus aux mains des autorités de Mali.  Ils seront transférés aux autorités canadiennes le plus rapidement possible.

Je sais que tous les Canadiens et toutes les Canadiennes se joignent à moi ainsi qu’aux familles de messieurs Fowler et Guay pour se réjouir de cette nouvelle fantastique.

J’ai parlé aux épouses des deux diplomates, Mme Fowler et Mme Yuris (ph) pour leur dire comment nous étions soulagés d’apprendre cette nouvelle ce soir.  C’est difficile d’imaginer l’épreuve qu’elles et leurs époux ont dû traverser ces dernières semaines.

Je veux aussi personnellement remercier les gouvernements du Mali et du Burkina Faso pour leurs efforts qui ont mené à la libération de messieurs Fowler et Guay.  Ils comprennent, tout comme nous, la responsabilité que les gouvernements ont de coopérer pour contrer le terrorisme et assurer la sécurité de tous les citoyens vivant à l’intérieur de nos frontières respectives.

Je veux aussi remercier les femmes et les hommes au Canada et partout dans le monde qui ont travaillé sans relâche au cours des quatre derniers mois pour mettre fin à cette situation terrible.  Votre — merci pour votre dévouement et votre professionnalisme.

Nous sommes aussi très reconnaissants envers nos alliés et les Nations Unies pour leur appui.  Nous demeurerons pour la sécurité d’autres Canadiens enlevés à l’étranger ainsi que pour celle des touristes européens enlevés dans cette région.  Notre priorité maintenant est de nous assurer que messieurs Fowler et Guay soient transférés aux autorités canadiennes le plus rapidement possible afin qu’ils puissent retrouver leur famille.

Tonight we are greatly relieved to receive confirmation from the President of Mali that the two Canadian diplomats, Robert Fowler and Louis Guay, have been freed by their captors.  Both are now in the hands of Malian authorities.  They are being transferred to our care as quickly as possible.  I know that all Canadians join with me and with the families of Mr. Fowler and Mr. Guay in rejoicing at this wonderful news.

I’ve spoken to the spouses of both men, Mrs. Fowler and Mrs. Yuris (ph) and conveyed to them our sincere relief at tonight’s news. I cannot imagine the ordeal they have suffered in recent weeks.

I also want to convey, personally convey Canada’s appreciation to the governments of Mali and Burkina Faso for their efforts which have resulted in the safe release of Mr. Guay and Mr. Fowler.  They understand, as we do, our responsibilities as governments to cooperate in countering terrorism and to ensure the safety and security of all people living within our respective borders.

I also want to thank all of the men and women in Canada and around the world who have worked tirelessly over the past four months to resolve this terrible situation.  Thank you for your dedication and your professionalism.

We’re also grateful to our allies and the United Nations for their support.  We remain concerned for the safety of other Canadians held abroad against their will and the European tourists still held in that region. Our priority now is to get Mr. Fowler and Mr. Guay transferred to our care as quickly as possible and then reunite them with their families.

Moderator: Thank you, Prime Minister.  Susan Bonner, CBC TV.

Question: Prime Minister, what can you tell us about the negotiations and how these hostages were released?  And what is Canada’s position about negotiating with Al-Qaeda?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Canada is always willing to pursue a negotiated resolution to these kinds of issues.  But, as you know, the Government of Canada’s position is clear on these things: we do not pay ransom and we do not release prisoners.  Ultimately, as I say, a great deal of effort went into a large number of activities by Canadian government officials from all departments and agencies over the past four months to help secure the release of these hostages.  The release was secured in the end by the authorities of Mali and Burkina Faso and so I once again thank them for their successful efforts.

Question: But we know that from the Malian President that they were negotiating with Al-Qaeda.  What do you say about that?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: A negotiated release of the hostages was preferable to just about every other conceivable option in this case.

Moderator: Malorie Beauchemin, La Presse.

Question: Qu’est-ce que en français vous pouvez nous dire concernant le travail qui a été fait pour la libération des deux otages ressortissants canadiens?  Est-ce qu’il y a eu échange de prisonniers?  Est-ce qu’il y a eu une rançon que ce soit par vous ou par les gouvernements concernés du Burkina Faso et du Mali?

Le très honorable Stephen Harper: Comme je viens de dire, ce sont les gouvernements du Mali et du Burkina Faso qui a — à la fin qui a fait transférer ces diplomates canadiens.  Comme j’ai dit, les fonctionnaires du gouvernement du Canada dans tous les ministères et des agences ont travaillé sans relâche pour plusieurs mois.  Comme vous savez et j’ai répété en anglais, la position du Canada est claire : le gouvernement du Canada ne paie pas de l’argent dans ces cas, d’argent dans ces cas et nous ne donnons pas des prisonniers dans les échanges.

Question: Par cet enlèvement, est-ce que c’est le Canada qui était visé selon vous ou l’ONU en termes d’institution internationale?

Le très honorable Stephen Harper: Qui est quoi?

Question: Cet enlèvement, est-ce que c’était le Canada qui était visé ou c’était plutôt l’ONU qui était visé?

Le très honorable Stephen Harper: Comme vous savez, ces deux diplomates travaillaient pour l’ONU au temps de leur enlèvement.  Mais à la fin c’est — ces efforts ont impliqué les agences de plusieurs gouvernements y compris surtout le gouvernement du Canada.

Moderator: Martin Stringer, CPAC.

Dimitri Soudas: We have to move on after this question, Richard.

Question: You’re going to miss a second French question.

Question: I’m just interested though were there any concessions of any sort made, any conditions met, anything exchanged with the Canadian government or the governments of Burkina Faso and the government of Mali in terms of securing the release of these prisoners?

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Well, be clear with you, and I’ve said this before, the Government of Canada does not pay ransom or money.  The Government of Canada does not release prisoners.  What efforts or initiatives may have been undertaken by other governments are questions you’ll have to put to those governments.

Question: En français.

Moderator: Daniel, can you get in a quick question, please?

Question: En français, M. Harper, donc vous n’excluez pas est-ce que c’est possible un gouvernement — que le gouvernement malien ou que le gouvernement du Burkina Faso ait échangé une rançon, des prisonniers contre (inaudible).

Le très honorable Stephen Harper: J’ai dit clairement que le gouvernement du Canada ne paie pas de rançon, le gouvernement du Canada ne donne pas des prisonniers.  Mais les activités, les décisions des autres gouvernements c’est leurs décisions comme pays souverains et on devrait poser ces questions à ces gouvernements pour déterminer les réponses.

Moderator: Thank you, Prime Minister.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: Thank you very much, everybody.




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‘A negotiated release of the hostages was preferable to just about every other conceivable option’

  1. With confirmation that four al-Qaeda prisoners and several million dollars were exchanged for Canadian diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay

    That statement is a little misleading, it insinuates that Canada paid money and negotiated the release. The money was paid by Mali, not Canada. According to the story, the reasoning appears to be that Mali wished to make Canada happy in order to continue receiving large sums of development aid.

    This was a very good development for the Canadian diplomats. Unfortunately, this is likely to put Canadians in more danger in the future.

    • The money was paid by Mali, not Canada.

      Actually the Malian president said that "Mali did not pay a single penny" for the release of the Canadian diplomats. Whether this simply means that the money came from increased Canadian aid or something else is still unclear.

      • "Mali did not pay a single penny"

        That statement is nowhere to be found in the article. You'd think the reported would have mentioned that.

        Where did you hear that? Do you have a link? I googled it and it seems that statement was reported by just a single individual, Konye Obaji Ori, and nobody else. And it was not the president that said it, it was a spokesman for the president, apparently, as the story goes.

        This sounds like another lie similar to the body-bags lies, the communion wafer lies, and the Suaad Mohamed lies.

      • "Mali did not pay a single penny"

        That statement is nowhere to be found in the article. You'd think the reporter would have mentioned that.

        Where did you hear that? Do you have a link? I googled it and it seems that statement was reported by just a single individual, Konye Obaji Ori, and nobody else. And it was not the president that said it, it was a spokesman for the president, apparently, as the story goes.

        This sounds like another lie similar to the body-bags lies, the communion wafer lies, and the Suaad Mohamed lies.

        • Seems like you have already found a source if you know that the spokesman for the President was quoted, so what is the problem? The denial of Mali paying money was in the news in April when the Canadians were released. Is there any update that contradicts that denial?

          • The denial of Mali paying money was in the news in April

            No, it wasn't. And since only one reporter has reported this, it is unlikely to be true. Just a lie.

    • Agree completely.

      Aaron, you are not doing your readers justice here. Your statement on its own leads the reader to believe that Canada was responsible for paying the ransom and releasing the prisoners, which would imply that Harper is lying here. People really shouldn't have to click through the link to find these important details. Would it be too much trouble to include important details like this in the preamble of your posts?

      • Really???

        Exactly what part of stating the facts that prisoners were released and money was paid for the release of Canadian diplomats do you object to? As the Globe makes clear, we do not actually know where the money came from yet as both Canada and Mali are denying it is their money. Mali also says they felt pressured and Canada denies pressuring them. Shortly after this deal, the Canadian government issued a release which said that relations with Mali "are becoming more extensive". That could mean that both Canada and Mali are able to say that it is not their money.

        Aaron should not put in information, such as stating that Mali paid a ransom, without some documentation to back that up. The Globe article does not provide any.

        • That statement is nowhere to be found in the article. You'd think the reported would have mentioned that.

          Where did you hear that? Do you have a link? I googled it and it seems that statement was reported by just a single individual, Konye Obaji Ori, and nobody else.

          This sounds like another lie similar to the body-bags lies, the communion wafer lies, and the Suaad Mohamed lies.

        • As the Globe makes clear, we do not actually know where the money came from yet

          That is not true.

          No matter what the case, the article makes it clear that Mali is the country paid the money, and the article states a very vague statement about "origins" of the money. All the reporting in the story indicates the money was paid by Mali.

          If Aaron wants to be accurate, he would state the facts, and not omit important details that make his statement misleading.

        • As the Globe makes clear, we do not actually know where the money came from yet

          That is not true.

          No matter what the case, the article makes it clear that Mali is the country paid the money, and the article states a very vague statement about "origins" of the money. All the reporting in the story indicates the money was paid by Mali. If there are further details about the money, the story certainly has provided no evidence, just innuendo. That is not reporting, that is insinuating and theorizing.

          If Aaron wants to be accurate, he would state the facts, and not omit important details that make his statement misleading.

        • As the Globe makes clear, we do not actually know where the money came from yet

          That is not true.

          No matter what the case, the article makes it clear that Mali is the country paid the money, and the article states a very vague statement about "origins" of the money. All the reporting in the story indicates the money was paid by Mali. If there are further details about the money, the story certainly has provided no evidence, just innuendo. To say there were other "origins", that is not reporting, that is insinuating and theorizing.

          If Aaron wants to be accurate, he would state the facts, and not omit important details that make his statement misleading.

          • You are splitting hairs. When people ask 'who paid the ransom' they are not simply asking who delivered the money.

          • Personally, I doubt seriously that the Canadian government ever paid the ransom, though it appears they are aware of it coming from other sources within Canada. I am interested in knowing whether you, catherine, would so readily refuse anyone making such a payment knowing it meant certain death for Robert Fowler and Louis Guay. Would you feel comfortable telling Mrs. Guay and Mrs. Fowler that you signed their death warrants?

          • What are you saying, Ed, are you suggesting our policy of not negotiating with terrorists is a bad policy? Because the awful truth of the matter is, if you do not agree to pay ransom or release prisoners, your hostaged citizen is very likely going to die. Chances are those hostages have wives or mothers to whom would have to admit to signing their death warrants, just like the wives in this case.

            So you feel as long as the money isn't coming from government coffers we get a pass on the problem, which is that more hostages will likely be taken since the kidnappers see a pay-off in the end? Because I truly don't think the kidnappers care where the money originates, or how many hands it passes through before landing in theirs.

            It is an awful, horrible situation. But either we "allow" kidnappers to be paid off, or we don't.

          • What are you saying, Ed, are you suggesting our policy of not negotiating with terrorists is a bad policy? Because the awful truth of the matter is, if you do not agree to pay ransom or release prisoners, your hostaged citizen is very likely going to die. Chances are those hostages have wives or mothers to whom you would have to admit to signing their death warrants, just like the wives in this case.

            So you feel as long as the money isn't coming from government coffers we get a pass on the problem, which is that more hostages will likely be taken since the kidnappers see a pay-off in the end? Because I truly don't think the kidnappers care where the money originates, or how many hands it passes through before landing in theirs.

            It is an awful, horrible situation. But either we "allow" kidnappers to be paid off, or we don't.

          • The government should never pay ransoms nor release prisoners. Each case short of that, is unique and has to be handled on the merits of that individual case. In cases where others are paying the ransom, I think the government being peripherally involved may be defensible. It depends on the case and the specifics of the government involvement. .

          • What? Did I say anything about whether anyone should have paid a ransom or not? No. I am simply commenting on comments that Aaron should have speculated that Mali was responsible.

          • Speculated?!! There are the facts we know, that the money came from Mali. Everything else is speculation.

          • And Wherry's headline and opening sentence certainly imply that Canada was responsible for the payment.

          • Actually, no, I am not splitting hairs. Mali paid the money. It was their decision to do what they wish with that money.

            You are splitting hairs to say that the money may have originated in Canada, when the government of Mail receives about 200 million every year from Canada.

          • Well heck, what a waste. Our noble government ought to have known better. Or not.

          • Sophistry, plain and simple…just because it allows Canada "plausible deniability", doesn't make it okay.

            Moreover, if Canada tells Mali that they will reduce their aid by $20 million if they do not negotiate on our behalf, that is tantamount to blackmail.

            Tell a starving kid that you will no longer given them as much food unless they do your dirty work…? Welcome to foreign aid and foreign policy a la CPC!

          • You are constructing a series of speculative smears, which is essentially useless, although I am sure you are aware of that.

          • "Smears"? And clearly you like to parse things into a set of palatable soundbites.

            Whatever lets you sleep at night…

        • As the Globe makes clear, we do not actually know where the money came from yet

          That is not true.

          No matter what the case, the article makes it clear that Mali is the country that paid the money, and the article states a very vague statement about "origins" of the money. All the reporting in the story indicates the money was paid by Mali. If there are further details about the money, the story certainly has provided no evidence, just innuendo. To say there were other "origins", that is not reporting, that is insinuating and theorizing.

          If Aaron wants to be accurate, he would state the facts, and not omit important details that make his statement misleading.

      • I disagree with your premise. I think blog posts themselves are more like a teaser for the link. The whole point of the blog post is to get you to read the link, so giving away the punchline, as it were, would be counter-productive.

        And how often do we comment, or see others comment, when we obviously didn't read the link? Really, we all complain so much about other Canadians not being involved, not informing themselves, and we are given a simple way to do that and want an excuse not to? Not everything (really, nothing) can be distilled into a soundbite. (read quick blog post)

      • Why do wingnuts like scolding everyone?

        • Because wrenches have yet to be invented by the infallible "free market" ?

    • Mali can barely feed itself. The money came from Canada. Wake up people.

  2. There's a reason why we say "no rewards for the hostage takers," because it is indeed a pernicious encouragement for the taking of more hostages.

    And there's a reason that rule is so often breached. Real lives at risk today trump the future lives to be risked.

    • Yeah, gotta admit I've got some grudging admiration for Mr. Harper here. Other than our forces freeing the hostages by force or guile. This is probably the best resolution that could be hoped for in the short term, and while it may be suspected that we leaned on Mali to get it done, it does give us some breathing room for the future.

        • Because coming out and saying that Canada paid ransom would encourage the taking of Canadians in the future.

          Semantic obfuscating is better then outright lies, and is sometimes necessary to protect Canadian intrerests.

          • I don't think the kidnappers worry about the details of where the money comes from. They kidnapped Canadians and got money. Meanwhile, the Mali President says Mali didn't pay anything and the implication seems to be that Canada is giving them a lot of money they might otherwise not have received and the Canadian PM is saying Canada didn't pay anything and the implication seems to be that Mali paid.

            Perhaps a domestic political win-win for everyone, but I don't see how this in any way protects Canadian lives in the future, although it did bring 2 Canadians safely home.

          • I disagree AJR79. i think this argument faces a major fallacy. it suggests that those taking hostages are relying on the words of the Canadian PM in making calculations as to whom to take hostage in the future. as SH was was delivering this message the hostage-takers were embracing the released prisoners and counting their millions. do you think that just because SH said that Canada was not willing to pay ransoms these individuals were discounting the hard evidence in their possession and that they were not sharing this information with other potential hostage takers in their organization? (not to mention other historical examples).

            your argument ignores that SH's messaging was delivered for Canadians and would carry little influence with, if it was heard at all, (potential) terrorist hostage takers.

          • Is it your view that he should admit to paying the ransom then?

            I imagine that would be bigger news internationally.

          • i think so, yes AJR79. i suspect that you are right that it would make bigger international news for a day or two, but i am yet to see any evidence that suggests that this would have actually had any negative effect. again I think that the messaging is mostly for the crowd at home. you and i both agree that this is likely the best possible solution, and I much prefer to be treated like an adult, even when the facts are rather difficult to swallow.

            A simple statement akin to: "two Canadians, serving our country were put in grave danger. working with, and through, our allies we negotiated their release. it did have a cost. [fill in the blank]. while we generally do not support the idea of negotiating with hostage takers we were prepared to allow the lives of guay and fowler to be sacrificed to demonstrate our principles" would do the trick.

            and, I suspect anyone that tried to make this a partisan issue would be in for a thrashing in public opinion and at the polls.

        • Because outright reversing is worse. That'd make international headlines. Bad enough that one group has been able to spot a crack they can get into, no need to spread that information around more than it will already travel.

          Probably the best decision, long term, would have been to not pay and hope things turned out well, but as MYL points out, that's not really a tenable solution because you're weighing future possibilities vs. very real present.

          • Thwim, I am not arguing the merits of the actual decisions (I think it was the right choice), but see m responses above to AJR79, I don't buy the idea that this is a rational exercise where what the PM says has much effect among potential hostage takers. The PM's statement is more or less domestic messaging.

          • I wouldn't deny that any statement the PM makes is weighted for domestic consumption.

            I do however think that you underestimate the importance of keeping up the illusion of not negotiating with terrorists. (even thou we know that many countries have and will again)

            I would not like to see the statement you suggested come out of the PMs mouth.

            I am happier with the tap-dance (and accounting semantics) instead.

            It's not just potential hostage takers who would take notice of that type of statement (and I am positive some would), it is our allies as well.

            Sometimes it is best to appear stoic, even when you are conficted.

            Of course the best message to send would have been similar to the one Obama sent to the Somali pirates…

          • I wonder if your conviction will stand as firmly if we hear Harper parade his steadfastness in the face of evil, around in the next election, while shamelessly hinting that his opponents might have done otherwise – it would be entirely within character. Events like this should fall outside of partisan lines – there rarely being any clear winners or clean hands. As to the claim this sort of obfuscation is necessary or indeed may save future lives – it's simply ludicrous, unless you're suggesting the terrorist have an interst in playing along. Now 'that' really would put us firmly down the rabbit hole.

          • I have no real intrest in making this a partisan issue, and I'm sure it won't become one outside of comment boards and blogs.

            I have a good idea of your assesment of the PMs character, and am not very interested in it.

            A better issue about playing domestic politics at the expense of honesty would be the LPC not listing the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist group.
            This is small potatos in comparison.

          • AJR, I still have no sense of what the benefit of having the PM recite a bunch of lines that by your own admission all involved know has historically been, is currently and will be in the future false (our allies included). and one can still be stoic in being truthful.

            Perhaps the benefit it to assuage our guilty conscience by denying reality?

          • After reading the linked article and re-reading the PMs statements, I do not believe there is any hypocracy here.

            The most interesting fact was that aid to Mali from Canada has increased 5-fold in the last 6 years. (to $100 million)

            No further encouragement was probably required for them to bend over backward for us.
            Add to that by how quick Canada was to de-list many Africian countries for aid, and you can see thier incentive.

            The death of the British hostage was tragic, and I am really starting to wonder why a military option wasn't used.

            I'm glad that Fowler and Guay will be home soon, with their heads still firmly attached.

          • The only benefits are domestic ones, and of course these must be cloaked in virtue.

  3. Earlier reports have indicated that Canadian Special Forces and CSIS were intimately involved in the realese of these two hostages.

    They ran the money through Mali sources so Canada could provide plausible cover for the fact that it has reversed a long standing policy of not paying money in return for hostages.

    While I am happy these individuals were released, this policy puts a big target on the backs of Canadians overseas. The Canadian government has demonstrated that if you are the right type of Canadian (i.e. connected) they will pay big bucks for your return. These individuals (who are most likely common thugs referring to themselves as Al Queda) will remember this, and will most likely repeat these actions in the future.

    • Agreed. And the next group of unfortunate hostages will likely die. or at least be at a higher risk of dying because of this decision. Next time our govt will feel under intense pressure to not cave because of the fact they did cave this time. The suggestion that Harper's denial will in some way protect future lives is not plausible ; teerorists can read between the lines as well as anyone: denial issued, result: prisoners released and ransom paid. This is typical Harper: it's all for public consumption and to appease the con base. Turning the truth on its head has become his trademark.
      It' is of course possible that there's much more to this story than meets the eye. Goverments/authorities are always in the losers chair in this kind of situation. If Harper issued that statement in order to gain time while our security forces moved, but somehow that fell through then fair enough. and there's is every possibility/ likeihood that the Mali govt are lying But, if the Mali govt speaks the truth, then his statement in no way protects future lives, and amounts to yet one more cynical attempt on his part to appear strong and virtuous, while in fact caving and making future outrages more likely, not less.

    • I agree with everything you're saying, but let us not minimize how difficult this is. Especially if the people in charge (Harper, the Foreign Affairs department) personally know the person in question. I don't mean to suggest that one life is more valuable than another, but if I was taken hostage and my friends Sharon and Susan and Diane were the ones negotiating for my release, I figure I have a better chance than if the negotiators don't know me. It is human nature. It doesn't make it right, but I can understand it.

      That said, I sure hope the hostage-takers understood Fowler was a personal friend, and even better, that personal friends will not be in this position in future.

      • I don't feel good about judging in this situation. I don't bame them at all for getting these guys back. As always my issue is with the hypocracy involved. Pretending that we didn't depart from our official position and indeed that this obfuscation is necessary to save future lives is simply not true – always assuming of course that the govt is not telling the truth. They have politics in Mali too. The possibility that they paid the ransom and released the prisoners is a very real one. The trouble is that Harper has not in the past, given folks a whole lot of reasons for taking him at his word. You're right though – i'm sure this is a very difficult position for any govt to be in. But we have a right to know if our govt has arguably traded the security of friends off for more insecurity for others in the future.

  4. Not good in the long run.

    One can only hope the special forces guys were able to track the money carriers back to the base. A "daisy cutter" dropped on their dinner table might reverse the damage done.

    • Swatting one fly in a pile of garbage kills one fly.

      • One might hope the other flies were paying attention.

      • If only they were just an insignficant nuisance as a fly, as opposed to an internationally armed and well organized group of religious zealots, singly focused on spreading the most repressive, brutal form of radical Islam to the country and throughout the world.

        On the bright side, describing the "daisy cutter" – one of the largest non-nuclear ordinances man has built – as a mere swat – is equally unfairly understated So I think your comment's a wash.

  5. And when the terrorists use the money to buy roadside bombs and kill more Canadian soldiers? Oh well we save a couple of diplomats.
    Of course the terrorists also now know we do negotiate with terrorists in spite of our pompous statements in the past. I've got an idea, why don't we just surrender to all their demands. Think of the lives we would save.

  6. Harper: "But, as you know, the Government of Canada's position is clear on these things: we do not pay ransom and we do not release prisoners."

    To suggest the ransom money paid for Robert Fowler and Louis Guay came anywhere than from Canada, is being incredibly naive and/or partisan. Pure and simple, Harper lied to the public, as he has on several other occasions. I am very glad that Fowler and Guay were safely released but to deny that Harper lied, yet again, is living in fantasy-land.

  7. None of this matters. We're doomed.

  8. The Left cannot and the Right will not.

    Or, do you mean…

    The Left will not and the Right cannot?

    Oh, oh, oh, it's all bullshyte, after all.

    The end.

  9. MacLean's really should go back to the MacLean's 50. Just pay people this time. Or get someone to do a synopsis of the discussion, highlighting when the illustrious contributors have made a particularly interesting point. Appeal to their egos next time and they won't wander away, bored by endless repetition of right wing cant from Conservative Party hacks.

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