Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hillier reined in by the Ministry of Information

The General's been given his "marching orders" according to a senior government official after last week's public schism between his 10 year time frame on an end to the Afghan combat mission and the Harper 2011 end date.
Canada's Chief of the Defence Staff, Rick Hillier, has been told to tone down his political interventions after he spoke out last week on the direction of the Afghanistan military mission, sources have told The Globe and Mail.

“He got his marching orders,” a senior government official said Wednesday. “He was reminded what his role is. His role is not to be the chief spokesperson for the mission.”

Gen. Hillier sparked controversy last week by saying it will be at least a decade before Afghanistan is able to field a professional military capable of managing its security. He also called on European countries to take a bigger role in the violent Kandahar region of Afghanistan, where Canada has committed 2,500 troops. Earlier in the week, the government's Speech from the Throne said Afghans will be able to defend their sovereignty by 2011.

The general immediately went to the airwaves to say he wasn't disagreeing with the government.

“He pulled in his horns, but there has to be a recognition that he may have gotten away with this once, he's not going to do it again,” the source said.

“He needs to do his job and leave the politics to those who are assigned to that task and who have the elected mandate behind him.”
No public commentary permitted on the Afghan file, don't ya know. This is Canada under Stephen Harper. There's a commission and all in deep study on the matter. Until then, no one, including the General better utter a word off message as issued by the PMO/Ministry of Information. Otherwise, the "marching orders" to STFU come down from on high. Much like this guy running against Bob Rae in Toronto got after he dared give a news media interview. Bam, he's not their candidate anymore.

The second public slap in a week...I wonder how much of this the General will take...