Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Khan You Dig It?

Originally posted at Prairie Wrangler

I know, stupid title, overused pun, apropos of nothing - sue me. That aside, as my last thought on the Khan defection, I thought I'd provide some sort of commentary on the newfound fascination regarding what exactly Khan's report contains. It seems that Harper has acquired a formidable political enemy; Paul Wells has been quite disaffected by the whole incident. He has gone to lengths to point out why the whole thing smacks of either incompetence or political dishonesty. I'm a bit torn...

First, Wells said:

"The prime minister couldn't be keeping the "report" under wraps because it either (a) doesn't exist or (b) is appallingly awful, could he? Certainly not."

Then, responding to the governments admittedly feeble excuse that "It defeats the purpose of Mr. Khan being an adviser to the Prime Minister. He would then be a pundit rather than an adviser, on such an important issue", Wells provided a list of high profile government reports made public, and opined:

"All these people are pundits? It is tiresome for this Prime Minister's Office to continually take the Canadian people for idiots."

Personally, I'm still shocked that, despite Harper's supposed propensity for all tactics Bush, he didn't play the 'matter of national security' card (can you even imagine the calamity if he did? I shudder at the thought). That being said, simply making a report visible to the public, or at the very least to opposition parties, does not deplete the quality of advise therein, and if this is the only excuse one could come up with, I'm inclined to call bullshit.

Likewise, my erstwhile arch nemesis and newfound colleague of sorts, Jason Cherniak (forgive me yet, Jason?), is skeptical:

"If Khan's entire report is partisan in nature, then it would make perfect sense for the PMO to keep it secret. You don't give public political advice when you have a private ear. Why would the Tories want the Liberals to know their political strategy for selling Tory Middle Eastern policy to Muslim voters?"

This would seem a reasonable conclusion, especially if the Tories are unwilling to provide the report to opposition members. However, there seems to be one overlooked fact in this whole debacle, which I think is important:

"Soon after Mr. Dion was elected Liberal party leader in early December, Mr. Khan contacted his office and offered to share his expertise and serve as an advisor to Mr. Dion on Afghanistan. Mr. Khan says his call was never returned."

So, leaving aside whether the report should be made public or accessible to opposition members, is there even a slight possibility that Khan's reasons for providing advice did not stem from treachery, but rather a genuine desire to provide advice - to whoever would take it, be they Harper or Dion - on an important area of particular expertise? Who knows, but the offer to also advise Dion doesn't seem to fit in well with the whole "special adviser status as a pretext for political betrayal" thesis.

That being said, none of this explain why the government would be unwilling to, at the very least, provide the report to opposition members. Indeed, if Khan's advise is so sagely, surely all within parliament could benefit. Leave your own conspiracy theories in the comments (the more creative the better!)

1 comment:

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