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Saturday, April 15, 2006 

Harper Puts Top General on Short Leash

The following is an excerpt of an article in the April 15th Otttawa Sum by Stephanie Rubec.

" Prime Minister Stephen Harper has forbidden Canada's top military brass from speaking publicly for fear of detracting attention from his government's top priorities.

A top military officer said the Prime Minister's Office recently told Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier his speaking engagements had to be approved and his speeches would be vetted by Harper's staff.

Hillier was told to advise his top generals, admirals and commodores that the order applies to them.

A source close to Hillier said the general hauled in military brass to a closed-door meeting and verbally relayed the instructions.

GO THROUGH PMO

The senior military officer who attended the meeting said Hillier told brass they were to clear all media interview requests with the PMO. So far all requests for interviews have been turned down by the PM's staff.

"They don't want anything to detract from their five messages or lead to debate or discussion," said the source, who asked for anonymity to avoid repercussions himself.

Lower-ranking soldiers can still answer questions on their responsibilities and the programs they work in without having to seek PMO approval, the senior official said.

Be honest, do you really want Hillier out there talking. He said, "It is our job to kill Afghan scum bag." Wasn't there a more articulate way of saying that, that wouldn't upset the international community?

Welcome to the "American Policy" of the north. Does Harper think can muzzle everyone? The guys a flippin lunatic. Who the hell voted for this bunch of school yard bullies.

You can think and vote NDP or vote Tory. President Harper is a scary dude that's for sure.

PAUL - I am no fan of General Hillier - This story struck my interest only because Harper had let Hillier off his leash and sound off for the first month or so of the term - then - boom - took his soapbox away too.

Hillier loves our current role in Afganistan! So does Harper.

At what point does control freak Harper finally crack? It's one thing to maintain party silence and discipline during an election campaign, but at some point some muzzled cabinet minister is just gonna get up and do something crazy. Like an interview, or have a drink in public.

And then we will see Harper totally and completely go off his rocker.

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