Thursday, July 20, 2006

Chickens coming home to roost for Steve

Enlightening article in the Globe today for those following the incredible challenge posed by the need to evacuate Canadians and other foreigners from Lebanon, here: "PMO wanted crisis kept under wraps, sources say." Apparently the Harper government's efforts here are being hampered by their continued preoccupation with information control and the need to centralize all decisions through the PMO. A little paranoid, these people. Their control freak tendencies are coming home to roost. And they may be learning some painful lessons in the process.

To wit:
In fact, Foreign Affairs staff realized last week that there was an emergency situation involving tens of thousands of Canadians brewing in Lebanon.

But federal sources say there was an edict handed down by Sandra Buckler, the Prime Minister's communications director, dictating that the situation was to be kept under wraps.
Edicts being issued by a PMO communications staffer? Excuse my language, but who the f*$# is Sandra Buckler? I think there's more to come in the way of blogging on her, that's for sure. Apparently she attended the Karl Rove school of political optics control. Very concerning, Ms. Buckler. Canadians don't take too kindly to this kind of thing. Recall your recent wrong-headed policy on media coverage of soldier repatriations from Afghanistan? Quite the disaster, wasn't it? Canadians don't like being shut out or managed in this way.

In Cyprus, Canadian officials said they felt betrayed by Ottawa. Canadian diplomats say the reason Wednesday's evacuation was so catastrophically slow is because decisions had to be routed through Ottawa — and nobody was even at work in Ottawa until midafternoon in Lebanon. “If you want to know where that boat is going, don't ask us — it's Ottawa driving the boat,” one official said, using a line repeated by others throughout the day.
And when the evacuation route was moved officially from Cyprus to Turkey, Harper decides to re-direct his plane to Cyprus to pick up Canadians that essentially would have to be "stage-managed" onto the scene, somehow, in order to make it there to fly out on a plane with Steve and his official photographer. All 120 of them, of the thousands needing evacuation. While Harper may have had good intentions, this was a bad decision that appears to have confused and distracted the effort.

Amateur hour on the international stage continues.