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Monday, September 11, 2006 

Harper Should Not Politicize Televised Address

Prime Minister Harper will make his first direct televised speech to the nation on Monday to mark the anniversary of 9/11. The Prime Minister's Office says Harper wants to recognize the 24 Canadians who perished in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Harper is also expected to address growing concerns over the mission in Afghanistan.
CTV Online

It will be interesting to see how Prime Minister Harper handles his first televised address to the nation tonight. I find absolutely nothing wrong with a sitting PM talking directly to the people from time to time. Nothing wrong with that at all. I look forward to hearing from my Prime Minister.

However I will have concerns if he uses the time allocated to advance a partisan or political message.

He should appropriately mark the loss of twenty-four Canadians who died in the attacks on New York City on September 11th, 2001. It is important for him to pay tribute to the 30 Canadians who have died in the current military mission in Afghanistan. The ongoing bravery of our troops must be recognized.

What he should avoid is a position that advocates the need for war and more war. While Canadians have a respected military legacy in the First World War, the Second World War and Korea, we are equally respected internationally for our ability to bring innovative peacekeeping expertise into world hot spots.

Many nations are engaged in the Middle East militarily including Canada. But where is there a voice calling for sanity in the region? If not Canada, then who? If the Prime Minister of Canada cannot advance a morsel of hope for the region other than ongoing military conflict, then he will have misused the opportunity that Canadians have given him to come into their homes with a meaningful message.

Stephen Harper should tell us how he, as an international player, is proposing to help find a resolution to the Afghanistan quagmire.

His address must be more than an infomercial for war. If it is not, then I hope millions of Canadians turn their televisions off in disgust.

I will give him a chance. Based upon what he has said on the record to date, I don’t think we will hear the words of a great international statesman. Rather, I predict we will listen to the words of a Prime Minister who has nothing to offer as a resolution but more war.

I disagree. If Harper is (finally) going to tell us what the "plan" is in Afghanistan, he should do it in the House of Commons, where he can be questioned in question period and have a full, binding debate and vote by the full house on the subject.

I would rather see him excercise democracy rather than being the opening act for Dubya on our airwaves, taking part in the propoganda campiagn.

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