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Monday, April 14, 2008 

Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier Obviously Unfamiliar With Middle Eastern Concept Of 'Baksheesh'

'Baksheesh' is a Persian word, used to describe certain forms of political corruption and bribery in the Middle East. As unsavory as the concept is to Westerners, 'baksheesh' is a reality of life in Afghanistan (as well as the rest of the middle east and much of southeast Asia). It is part of the day to day business of Afghanistan that sees Canadian aid money lining the pockets and bank accounts of officials at various levels in that country. Proving that the Conservative government has no concept of what 'baksheesh' is, we had Foreign Affairs Minister Bernier encouraging the government of Afghanistan to get rid of the governor of Kandahar province due to corruption:

"Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier directly told Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai that the governor of Kandahar province should be replaced because he is holding up Canadian development aid, CTV News has learned. "Officials tell me that Maxime Bernier told President Karzai in a meeting that Governor (Asadullah) Khalid should be removed, that he was a corrupt governor and that he was holding up development aid," Robert Fife, CTV's Ottawa bureau chief, told Newsnet on Monday.
CTV News

Shortly thereafter, the Minister tried to deny that he was interfering in Afghan internal affairs;

"Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier has backed away from comments he made that appeared to call on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to fire the governor of Kandahar. Mr. Bernier made the original comments while speaking to reporters in Kandahar on Monday.
Globe & Mail

Those of us who have been nervous about the Afghan mission since the day it started are not at all surprised to see our overpaid foreign affairs gurus completely out to lunch, once again, on the quicksand we are bogged down in with Afghanistan!

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