The Ruxted Group pays careful attention to Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin; he is well connected in Ottawa and offers penetrating insights about Canadian politics. We have taken issue with him, however, when he tried, without merit, to tie Prime Minister Harper’s support for the Afghanistan Mission to a ‘failure’ to deploy to Darfur. That was arrant nonsense. We also objected to his abuse of the Vimy commemorations to launch an unsupported personal attack on General Rick Hillier.
We think that a fair reading of Mr. Martin’s columns indicates
that he is no friend of Prime Minister Harper, primarily, it appears,
because Mr. Harper is less distant than other Canadian political
leaders from Mr. Martin’s personal Great Satan: George W. Bush. It is odd, therefore, to find him acting as a shill for Prime Minister Harper’s political aides.
Mr. Martin renews his nasty personal attack on General Hillier, this time insinuating (following a previously debunked assertion
by Stephen Staples) that General Hillier is, in some mysterious way,
militarizing Canada and making Canadian foreign policy. That too is
rubbish: the product of feverishly ill-informed ‘minds.’
agree with the unnamed “senior Harper official” that “His [General
Hillier’s] role is not to be the chief spokesman for the mission."
That’s exactly right. The “chief spokesman for the mission” ought to be
Prime Minister Harper. He ought to be aided by Foreign Minister Bernier
and Defence Minister McKay. The whole process ought to be coordinated
by the “senior Harper official” who is responsible for communication.
That person and the assistant spin doctors appear unwilling or unable
to explain Canada’s vital interests to Canadians. That person appears
unwilling to tell Canadians why dozens of our very best men and women
have died in Afghanistan. Instead, an unnamed official is deployed to
whinge to Lawrence Martin because General Hillier, unlike Martin, is
unwilling to become a partisan political shill for the government.
Lawrence Martin fails to understand is that while it is the PM’s
staff’s job - a job at which it is failing, miserably – to make the
Prime Minister of Canada into the “chief spokesman for the mission" it
ought not to interfere with the Chief of Defence Staff’s duty (and
right) to speak to the men and women of the Canadian Forces – to tell
them why they are in Afghanistan, to explain how long the mission might
need to go on (perhaps not with Canadians in their current roles) and
to reassure them that he is fighting their fight ( for more bullets and
more beans) to the comfortable officials and politicians in the
risk-free corridors of power in Ottawa. That’s what he’s been doing.
That’s what he is supposed to do. Mr. Martin and the person from whom
he is taking dictation are spouting yet more nonsense.
all unite in saying, "Shame!" on Lawrence Martin’s unnamed official for
the sneak attack (from the shadows of anonymity) on Canada’s top
soldier. But: we expect that with enemies like that General Hillier
sleeps easily at night, knowing he’s won the intellectual and moral
battle hands down.
The Ruxted Group challenges the spineless
“senior Harper official” to stop hiding in the dark corners: be brave,
show your face, stop using Lawrence Martin as a shill. Come out and
tell Canadians why General Hillier cannot be the “champion of those
brave men and women ... Canada's sons and daughters” – heaven knows the
Prime Minister’s Office is not doing the job.