Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Is Stephen Harper Smothering the Military?
With a blanket of silence, controlled by the PMO? Le Devoir seems to think so.
The Ministry of Defence has been forced into silence about the costs of the war in Afghanistan. The Privy Council, the Prime Minister's ministry,is preventing the military from speaking to the media about any delicate subject.
That political control, already omnipresent, has been reinforced during the election campaign. In the Armed Forces the military and officials don't hesitate to speak about "censorship" and "abusive control of information" by the Conservative government.
According to Le Devoir, two directives drawn up by the Privy Council and the PMO, were sent to all Ministry of Defence employees. One of them the day the election was called.
"During the election period it is of the greatest importance that the employees of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces don't act in a manner to influence, or appear to influence, the results of the election."
The Armed Forces says its's just a line of conduct, but since then Le Devoir says no requests for information about such things as the mental health of soldiers, or the cost of the war have been answered.
And even more disturbingly the paper charges that there is a secret directive that forces MOD employees and Armed Forces personnel to channel any requests for information through the Privy Council and the PMO.
"This directive has never been written down. You won't find anything if you make an Access to Information request. The idea is not to leave a trace. People must not know that the Ministry of Defence doesn't control its communications anymore and that the public only hears what the Conservatives want, " said a military source who received the directive.
Which makes me wonder what Stephen Harper is trying to hide. And whether this report. will ever see the light of day. BEFORE the election is over.
Because if it's billions and billions more than expected, it could be DEVASTATING for Stephen Harper at a time like this. Destroy his ill deserved reputation as a money manager, and provide a big boost for the NDP which has opposed the war right from the start.
Then of course there is the even more disturbing question. What kind of government is running Canada? When is enough enough? When does control freak authoritarianism become something even MORE sinister? And why do we put up with it?
It's bad enough that the War in Afghanistan barely registers on the electoral scale. Except maybe in Quebec. But something is terribly wrong in Canada.
And we really NEED to do something about it...