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Khadr: Everything is always the other guy’s fault


 

So apparently Paul Martin was on Question Period yesterday. He said that while he didn’t repatriate Omar Khadr, today’s government should. It’s “easy” to operate with the benefit of hindsight, says the former prime minister, who had considerably more trouble summoning the benefit of foresight while in office.

Kory Teneycke, meanwhile, demonstrates the PMO’s new communications technique: More political, less logical. Why not bring Khadr home? Because Stephen Harper wants to be just like Paul Martin! “This is the process the Liberals chose, and we’re sticking with it,” he says in the kind of forward-leaning, very-political comment his predecessor would (I am being non-ironic here; I know it can be hard to tell) almost never have made.

OK, I’ll bite: Why are the Conservatives sticking with the process the Liberals chose? When did Stephen Harper farm out his political and moral judgment to Paul Martin? ‘Cause I didn’t get that memo.

As a bonus, Colin Freeze’s very thorough story includes the first public acknowledgement by Dan McTeague that he has a record of talking a lot into microphones in the absence of information.


 

Khadr: Everything is always the other guy’s fault

  1. Gar Pardy should know that Christ wasn’t interrogated by Herod; it was Pontius Pilate. Maybe assisted by Bigus Dickus.

  2. LMAO!!

  3. Well old Paul Martin just earned us Conservatives about 3 maybe 5 points in polls as any time Martin the penultimate Fiberal I mean Liberal opens his mouth Canadians start looking at the other parties.

  4. Wayne, is that another one of your “scientific” observations?

  5. Much as I dislike the Liberals and have little time for Paul Martin’s hypocrisy on the subject of Khadr, the Conservatives have been in power for 2.5 years; the statute of limitations for blaming the Liberals for the ails of society is running out on many files. This one in particular.

    While I don’t share the opinion that Khadr should come “home” (calling Canada his home seems like a bit of a joke) for trial, I hope Teneycke has more to offer than continuing to blame the Liberals.

  6. I think Kory Teneycke statement is brilliant. He is not ‘blaming’ anyone, he’s just pointing out that Liberals started this and Conservatives are continuing it. I think Khadr is exactly where he should be.

    I also agree with Wayne about Martin not being great for Liberal fortunes but I doubt the Conservatives will get such a big bounce in the polls.

  7. Yes jwl – he is truly brilliant – to paraphrase Teneycke’s line on this issue – “Steve’s Conservatives – we are no different than the Liberals” – I know it makes me want to run out and get a Con membership card – Not.

  8. The Liberals started it.

    We’ll need Liberals to finish it too.

    Sigh.

  9. This Johnnie hit me first garbage is way past its due date and getting more than tiresome.

    Time for Harper’s gang to grow up and take responsibility – like they have been elected to do.

    I cringe everytime I hear the Liberals did it first and 13 years yadda, yadda, yadda.

  10. If Kory’s “brilliant” response isn’t a good indication of how thoroughly indefensible Harper’s position on this matter truly is, I don’t know what will.

  11. I have a rule about politics, that an incoming government is allowed to blame its predecessor until it passes its first budget. After that, the buck literally stops with the new guys.

    To still be (ostensibly) following Martin’s lead after two and a half years makes Harper’s government look disorganized and desperate; if they’re trying to make the point that “Martin did the same thing!”, better to be direct.

  12. But speaking of Khadr, what the hell is the Canadian Press thinking quoting Mohammed ElMasry’s totally indefensible statement that Harper is leaving him there because he is “brown-skinned” and a Muslim.

    ElMasry’s comments on anything should have been embargoed by the media the moment he mused that any adult Israeli, civilian or otherwise, is a legitimate target for terrorism. He has no business calling anybody “callous”.

    I hope Harper has some powder saved for another lawsuit.

  13. Why is it that Paul Martin can come out of hiding to discuss Omar Khadr, but can not find the time to…oh… say vote on any issue. This includes, of course, his non-votes on Afghanistan or his lack of participation in any debates over Afghanistan.

  14. “But speaking of Khadr, what the hell is the Canadian Press thinking quoting Mohammed ElMasry’s totally indefensible statement that Harper is leaving him there because he is “brown-skinned” and a Muslim.”

    There are actually quite a few arabs and muslims who would agree with that statement. I frankly don’t think Harper factors Khadr’s ethnicity but don’t expect some people to accept that.

  15. boudica, my problem is with the source of the comments.

    ElMasry stated on television that he believes that any Israeli over 18 is a legitimate target for terrorism. For him to call anybody racist is ridiculous.

    And shame on CTV for referring to him as a “Muslim leader”. If his views as a “leader” represent a majority of Muslims…well I don’t even want to finish that sentence.

  16. Yes. I know of your problems with the media. I’m simply saying that many arabs and muslims do not consider his comments to be “out there.” I think it was in the Globe that I read a letter to the editor also suggesting that Khadr’s situation was proof that muslims do not enjoy the same judicial scrutiny than the rest of us.

    It is indeed this kind of thing that serves the purposes of extremists and strengthen their claims against the West.

  17. Riley: Every time Paul Martin shows up in public, he reminds everyone why they voted for Harper in the first place. If I’m Stephane Dion, and I’m having much the same image problem, I wouldn’t want him within 500 meters of the Commons, unless I actually needed his vote to bring down the government (or maybe in Dion’s case, prop it up).

  18. I have to agree with jwl’s assessment, and believe that some are missing the mark on their attacks on the Tories.

    Remember, it’s the Liberals who are now changing their position on Khadr. So, why shouldn’t their credibility and record be held to account?

    It’s the Liberals themselves who are inviting scrutiny of their own credibility.

    It seems that they start to yell and holler about these issues the second they lose power. Why should people forget?

  19. Martin’s government must have done some deal with the CIA/Pentagon to let them keep Khadr (why I have no idea – principle, I suppose). And Harper must have signed on to the deal when he arrived. Now he can’t go back on the secret deal, whatever it was. I think that explains Harper’s earlier non-comments and the straightforward equation of his position with Martin’s.

  20. Speaking of Elmasry : here is a quote of his I find quite enlightening : CIC President Mohammed Elmasry opened the meeting by saying: “The Conservatives’ strong performance in recent polls should alarm Muslims” since, in his view, Conservative leader Stephen Harper espouses an extreme-right agenda. Mohammad Sherif Kamel of the Canadian Muslim Forum sounded the same warning bell: “The Conservatives are so right-wing they put Bush to shame; its members are all racists and Zionists.”

  21. I haven’t got a problem with a government saying that it evaluated the decison of its predecessor and decided to stay the course, but it’s still accountable for that decision, and should be prepared to discuss its reasons.

    And if anything it’s Conservative supporters who should be most annoyed. If you’re in the let Khadr rot in Gitmo crowd shouldn’t you be looking for a tough statement about terrorism from your government? You support them, but they can’t even spit out what they’re thinking.

  22. Dennis (ST) says “Remember, it’s the Liberals who are now changing their position on Khadr. So, why shouldn’t their credibility and record be held to account?”

    Fair enough – if you are willing to hold Yo Harper to the same standard over his complete “Income Trust” reversal and his outrageous lie about making government more accountable – by both sabotaging access to information and restricting media access, our only real oversite over government actions.

  23. “Fair enough – if you are willing to hold Yo Harper to the same standard over his complete “Income Trust” reversal and his outrageous lie about making government more accountable – by both sabotaging access to information and restricting media access, our only real oversite over government actions.”

    ding ding ding ding…

  24. Interesting to see some engage in non-related partisan mudslinging.

    Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the Harper government’s policy on these kinds of issues already on record? Aren’t they of the position that they won’t intervene in democratic foreign justice systems?

    So, again, Liberals desperately trying to flip-flop on their own policy seems to be a genuine topic of discussion for Tories. Heck, I’d mention it every time a Liberal tried to attack them on this issue, which is what they already seem to be doing.

  25. Dennis, do Tories consider Mexico to be a “democratic foreign justice system?”

  26. How about Bulgaria, Dennis?

  27. Does anybody have an idea of why the media has not been after Martin for his lack of voting record and lack of courage on the Afghanistan file? It strikes me as odd that a Prime Minister who ordered troops into Afghanistan would then be let off the leash during serious debate and votes on the issue. One would think that he would have pertinent views or input on the subject.

    Or even his views on the current defence portfolio. It was under his leadership that Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier was appointed. It was under Paul Martin that the defence budget rose to its highest levels in 20 years. It was under his watch that the agreement to expand NORAD was finalized. Also, he was intrumental in the new defence policy statement. Seriously, Paul Martin steered Canada towards the largest defence focus we’ve seen in several decades AND I was glad to see it happen.

    But yet not one media outlet has questioned this or drawn attention to it. Not one interview that I have scene has raised this up and asked why he now, while still a sitting member of parliament, has nothing to offer or discuss about the current deployment to Afghanistan or the current state of our military.

    To boot, here is a quick question: Where did Paul Martin visit during his first days of being Prime Minister? Answer: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/newsroom/view_news_e.asp?id=1285

  28. Riley, PMexPM doesn’t give many interviews these days. The good news is, he is working on his book, which comes out this autumn and which will have frank, introspective answers to all your questions that in no way suggest he’s still in denial about anything. I’m confident of it.

  29. Actually, Paul Martin was showing up in his House seat, he just didn’t speak unless absolutely necessary, e.g. Kelowna Accord. He’s been very respectful of Stéphane Dion and the shadow cabinet, who represent the federal Grits.

  30. Note: I didn’t address the perceived consistency of government policy, which is a debate in and of itself. Some people here seem compelled to go off on tangents.

    All I did was try to recall what the stated policy already was, since some here are accusing the government of not having one because it didn’t cite it in response to Liberal flip-flops.

    Again, if I’m being accused by Liberals on this, I repeat the Liberal flip-flop each and every time. Any governing party with half a brain would, if you ask me.

  31. Riley: The media has no interest in things that don’t make waves. An average MP doesn’t have enough weight to rock the boat unless they’re doing something rather stupid (Hi Maxime! Hi Pierre!) or specifically looking to make a splash.

    As for flip-flops, I hate that term. It’s absolutely, completely stupid, because for most people, there’s such a thing as learning and changing your opinion.

    So why do income trusts, softwood lumber, appointing unelected Fortier, and offering a cabinet position to a floor-crossing Emerson bug me? Because those are not just changing your opinion, those are each breaking specific promises to the Canadian people.

  32. T, Thwim, at the risk of going off on a tangent myself, what about all the promises the Tories did keep, including four of the five major priorities, as well as fiscal imbalance and a boatload of others. Do those make you feel good?

    And just so we get partisanship out of the equation, I have to assume that you absolutely hate the Liberal red book, since most of the promises contained within it were swept aside, including getting rid of the GST, renegotiating NAFTA, and other major campaign initiatives.

  33. “An average MP doesn’t have enough weight to rock the boat unless they’re doing something rather stupid (Hi Maxime! Hi Pierre!) or specifically looking to make a splash.”

    I like how former Prime Minister Paul Martin is now an average MP who doesn’t have enough weight to rock the boat. Trust me, if Martin were to have stood up at the height of the Afghanistan debate and defend the mission like John Manley did, it would have “made waves” and the media would have covered it.

  34. “And just so we get partisanship out of the equation, I have to assume that you absolutely hate the Liberal red book…”

    Oh, you’re being too nice. What about Dion’s promise in the Liberal leadership that he would not implement a carbon tax? What exactly did the former Environment Minister learn about environmental policy between then and now that caused him to “change his opinion”?

  35. We need to put Mr. Martin in touch with Peter Newman asap.

  36. Paul, has anyone leaked an early copy of Martin’s book?

    Secondly, speaking of Harper stealing a line from PMexPM, how ironic is it that Harper may call a First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal issues this fall just as it looks like Dion may try and bring the government down. Doesn’t that sound like 2005 redux?

  37. It’s perfectly playable to state the course was set and you have to follow it; but Harper projects that he’s a leader, and just as some leaders need to change course on their own promises (income trusts, accountability, ethics, fiscal responsibility, the senate, health care wait lists, honouring agreements/accords etc) he should at least pretend that his gov’t is consistent.
    And i ‘d argue that Gitmo has nothing to do with a result of a fairly-elected government. It’s the kind of act and scenario that evolved from a tyrannical state of mind.

  38. I don’t want Omar Khadr repatriated, but if this is an example of Kory Teneycke’s spokesperson work, I say the Conservatives are in big trouble. Unless Harper actually told him to say that, in which case I fear this government has become so acrimonious toward the Liberals that it shall not be reconciled to the path of civility again. Mr.Teneycke’s response is an embarrassment to utter from a representative of the government. Absolutely zero class.

  39. Raphael Alexander, I really don’t understand why it’s improper to remind everyone who authored this current policy on Khadr, especially when those same people are now trying to politicize the issue themselves.

    Don’t quite get why people expect Conservatives to act like boy scouts, especially when their enemies are on the march.

  40. Dennis, it’s not that it’s improper to remind everyone about the Liberal inaction. It’s improper to use that as a justification for your current foreign policy.

    As a conservative blogger, Mr.Teneycke’s statement embarrasses me. Paul Wells was not asking why the Conservatives are pursuing a foreign policy on Omar Khadr identical to that of the Martin Liberals, but why the Conservatives would try to blame the former government for pursuing the same policy. It’s getting a little tiresome, to be honest.

    I also oppose action on climate change since I think much of it is based on loosely formulated hypotheses that haven’t been proven, but the Conservative inaction on Kyoto was not explained to the public as clearly as Harper did before the party was amalgamated. They still wanted to be all things to all people, so they simply blamed the Liberals for “13 years of inaction”. Well, sure, the environmental record of the Liberals was atrocious, but if you’re going to pretend you want to invest in climate change circumvention, you can’t continue to use the rhetoric of it being the former government’s failing.

  41. You’re absolutely right. The way the Liberals lived up to the red book promises was a complete disgrace. That’s why I didn’t vote for them either.

    Of course, the difference I’ve seen is that I’m not alone among people, including former liberal party members, that voted elsewhere because of the liberals lies therein. That said, I haven’t seen any conservative voter who would do the same. This is what bothers me. Voting based on tribe instead of on thinking strikes me as what is most damaging, and what rewards these parties, Liberals and Conservatives alike, for their utter disdain for honesty and continual lying.

  42. Raphael said: “I fear this government has become so acrimonious toward the Liberals that it shall not be reconciled to the path of civility again.”

    My perception is that your ‘fear’ is in actual fact the big elephant that just crushed the sofa – then launched a lawsuit over it.

  43. “Unless Harper actually told him to say that, in which case I fear this government has become so acrimonious toward the Liberals that it shall not be reconciled to the path of civility again. ”

    Raphael, did you just come back from a year-long vacation on the Moon?

  44. R. Thwim, you still didn’t address one of my points. If you actually look at the Tory record on promises, it’s been a pretty good one, hasn’t it? In fact, they often get criticized for following up on promises like cutting the GST, addressing the fiscal imbalance, getting tough on crime, setting fixed election dates, etc, etc.

    R. Alexander, I think the Tory statement should be put in some context. Mr. Wells makes it seem as though this is the official Tory stance on Khadr. My reading of what happened is that they were directly responding to Paul Martin’s flip-flop on the file. That the former Liberal position would not be mentioned seems ludicrous. But maybe that’s just me.

    Boudica, I’m also assuming you haven’t been on the moon for a year, too. So you’d then probably agree that the acrimony has been going both ways. I mean, when you accuse a prime minister of being a criminal, I think that’s acrimonious — even if you happen to be on the moon.

  45. Dennis is absolutley correct despite the usual hyperbole from the left wing the track record on promises made by the conservative far exceed that of past liberal time in power if you actually take the time to look at the record you would see that out of the 5 promises as an election platform 4 have been kept minus the income trust issue which was a responsible decision (despite the fact that I lost a few dollars myself so do don’t go nuclear folks as unless you lost just as much you haven’t earned that right with me)and as well the rest of the legislative agenda has been passed which is another issue and deserves major cudos by all. Speaking as a former Liberal I can look at both sides of the other issue with blaming things on the past leadership – wake up and smell the coffee folks as sitting members always blame things on the past leadership party – I mean really … this is a complete non-sequitor. One last point T. have you thought that maybe the reason that you have not met any other Conservatives who swithched their vote because of the party lying to them is because the Conservative Party hasn’t lied to them. Now I know you and others don’t like to hear this but maye the issue is not the party in question but because more than likely you are associating mostly with others in areas where you are in agreement, this is a very common problem people tend to attempt to justify their own pre-conceived notions rather than challenge their own pre-conceptions = it sucks to be human! Then there are the contrarians like myself who love it when other don’t agree!

  46. “Boudica, I’m also assuming you haven’t been on the moon for a year, too. So you’d then probably agree that the acrimony has been going both ways. I mean, when you accuse a prime minister of being a criminal, I think that’s acrimonious — even if you happen to be on the moon.”

    Uh Dennis? I don’t recall suggesting that the acrimony was only coming from the government side. Is someone else using my moniker or something?

  47. “When did Stephen Harper farm out his political and moral judgment to Paul Martin?”

    Hi Paul.

    Can you clear something up for me?

    If you actually believe Paul Martin then the Liberals would have made a decision different from the one the Conservative government is “sticking” with, which makes your comment logically inconsistent. Hence, you obviously think Paul Martin is a liar and that the only way government can prove it’s not farming out its moral and political judgments is to make a decision different from the previous government’s, which is stupid.

    So, is Paul Martin a liar? Or is your comment nonsense?

    Cheers.

  48. I will certainly agree there is nonsense here.

  49. “Of course, the difference I’ve seen is that I’m not alone among people, including former liberal party members, that voted elsewhere because of the liberals lies therein. That said, I haven’t seen any conservative voter who would do the same. ”

    T. Thwim, it may be because there is no other option for a “c”onservative-thinking person right now.

    I’ve voted Liberal in the past but besides having drifted too far to the left their recent performance has shown that they have clearly lost their way and are just not worthy of support at this time. The NDP and Greens are in moonbat country, and I don’t live in Quebec to vote for the BQ, and I’m not interested in wasting my vote on a fringe Libertarian party to make some kind of useless statement.

    I certainly don’t like everything this gov’t has done, but as a “c”onservative, Harper is by far the most palatable option to my taste.

  50. john g is a c-Con?!?!?!

  51. John, using “Moonbat” is a dead give away.

  52. Dennis, was there a question in there?

  53. “Voting based on tribe instead of on thinking strikes me as what is most damaging, and what rewards these parties, Liberals and Conservatives alike, for their utter disdain for honesty and continual lying.”

    Your assumption that conservatives are voting based on tribe instead of on thinking when they support Harper is probably wrong. Where have conservatives been the last decade? In the political wilderness. Why were they there? Because their coalition fell apart. Why do conservative voters stick it out with Harper even if he lied on income trusts? Putting aside the goodwill Harper has generated by rebuilding the conservative coalition and his bona fide conservative credentials before taking power, he is still a far more preferable choice for conservatives as the person to run the country then Dion. They’ve probably also thought about what the consequences would be if Dion won.

    Seems to me that this is a well thought out course of action. Why run off on a point of principle to sit in the opposition benches when you can run the show? Conservatives learned the lessons of the 90s well. It’s not going to be repeated any time soon.

  54. Greg,

    Giveaway of what? A CPC party membership (which I don’t have)? A record of donations to the CPC (which I don’t have)?

    It only indicates that I am right-leaning and think that the NDP & Green parties are silly. I would say that is not a particularly controversial opinion for a small c conservative to have, and as a small c conservative I can’t imagine ever voting for them.

  55. Boudica, did you compare the Bulgarian, and Mexican legal systems to the US? For a more logical comparison, how about the Canadian in Texas on death row. The government isn’t intervening there, (and he’s white, thus disproving the true racist Elmasry’s statement)

  56. I see the ascorbic twit … er… wit of Mr. Wells didn’t tone down much after a year in France.

    Obviously, rather than score a cheap shot, a more prudent journalist would perhaps wonder why the person responsible for Canadians abroad was left out of the loop by the security brain trust that appears to have frolicked around in total secrecy while handling the Khadr file. Where was the political oversight? Hopefully Justice Iacobucci can find out who knew about the Frequent Flying and the stooge-like interrogations of Khadr. Mr. Wells certainly has not grasped the significance.

    Yes Mr. Wells, I am quite comfortable in pointing out that as far as Khadr was concerned I did my job to gain consular access to him.

    Not that Mr. Wells could see fit to comment on that.

  57. Indeed not.

  58. You’re such a tease.

  59. “ascorbic” wit? I assume the honourable Member meant ‘acerbic’… unless he just thought Paul was lacking Vitamin C…

  60. I have been looking a bit peaked lately.

  61. Dan put this all up on his website, taking care to fix “ascorbic.” Hello, Dan fans!

  62. Why did you delete true statements?
    taintedinvestigatorscandal@hotmail.com

    comment by Beatrice Rose Roberts on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 7:22 pm:
    Paul Martin’s words cannot be trusted. Paul Martin’s PMO maliciously attempted to cover-up my letters when I wrote to him regarding group anti-Semitism, within the Federal Public Service, which had been sanctioned by Brenda Beaton (wife of now disgraced Liberal Privy Council Appointee, Rick Beaton of “Rick Beaton’s Reign of Terror”). I published some of the letters. The Dishonourable Paul Martin is a jerk.
    Sincerely,
    Miss Beatrice Rose Roberts
    Author of A Flag for Betty: from the diaries of a whistle-blower

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