On Thursday night, Afghanistan was the focus of CBC's new pilot, On the Map with Avi Lewis. All previously aired episodes are viewable in their (commercial-free) entirety. Check the archives. One of the segments focussed on the evolving counter-narcotics strategy in Afghanistan, where the U.S. is trying to fashion a 'Plan Afghanistan' drug war akin to Plan Colombia. Lewis takes a hawkish former assistant secretary of defense, Andre Hollis to task. Lewis also made NATO's Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer squirm. He was in Canada to speak at a meeting of political and economic elites during the Conference of Montreal, and to promote the Afghanistan Adventure. One of several high- level speakers, de Hoop Scheffer - who George W. Bush called "a strong advocate of fighting terror" when they met in Crawford, Texas last month - used the occasion to plant the seed for Canada's extending its mandate beyond the February 2009 date that was narrowly approved by Parliament last year. Said de Hoop Scheffer:
"Given the facts, I think more time is necessary to create those conditions for reconstruction and development to go on and proceed ... that will not be the end of it...That is a message to Canadians, as much as to the Dutch, or to the Danes or to the Norwegians. It's a message I have for all my allied friends in the alliance and for the partners alike."With Parliament now recessed for the Summer, de Hoop Scheffer has left us with a cliffhanger: will the Harper government attempt to extend the mission when the next 'season' returns?
- As part of the grassroots element of the military's latest PR offensive, the Quebec-based Vandoos, set to ship of to Afghanistan soon, took part in a pro-war rally in Quebec City on Thursday. It would seem, now that the hockey playoffs are over, the Canadian Forces public relations team has transitioned to the CFL as a propaganda tool, as CTV explains:
More than 2,000 soldiers from Quebec's CFB Valcartier gathered in Montreal on Thursday night, to hold a tailgate party and watch the local CFL team play against the Toronto Argonauts...The event was meant to drum up flagging support for Canada's mission in Afghanistan...- The "decal debacle" as it has been dubbed, ended in Toronto Mayor David Miller's 'about-face,' resulting in a unanimous 39-0 vote (with significant abstentions) to keep the "yellow ribbons" on Toronto's emergency vehicles. The Toronto Star reported:
The views of one abstainer were reported, with the now-obligatory, 'but I support the troops' qualifier:
- 'Support the troops' hysteria spilled over into Quebec politics when "Anti-war sentiment spilled on to the floor of the Quebec National Assembly Wednesday." The Globe & Mail reported:
when a group of officers from the Royal 22nd Regiment, known as the Vandoos, stood to be greeted in the public gallery, a handful of Parti Québécois MNAs refused to stand and applaud, sparking anger and a heated debate in the National Assembly.- Since the media ignored it the other day when the National Defence Committee tabled their report, the NDP separately issued their 12-page "dissenting opinion," which they have dubbed a new "action plan for Afghanistan ."
We'll have a look at the Committee report, as well as the NDP and other dissenting reports, over the weekend...