There's a rather serious omission from this ode to Bob Rae and the joys of bipartisanship that's up at the Globe and Mail this morning: voters. We're never mentioned.
Whatever the dictionary definition might be, I had always thought that bipartisanship described the process of legislators from different parties coming together to accomplish things that actually, ultimately, involved the legislature. That certainly isn't the process that's described here:
Quiet phone calls and meetings about a potential training mission took place over several months between government figures, opposition politicians and foreign governments.
What's described here is a conscious attempt to avoid parliament and the people. The article celebrates a process specifically designed to ignore public opinion and get the deal done, or as close to done as possible, before the public even knows what's going on. We've been rendered impotent and irrelevant by our own elected representatives and this article glorifies it.
I guess Rae intends to export democracy by taking ours away from us and sending it somewhere else.
Updated on the flip.
Here's another one, an op-ed by a senator that begins with "The ultimate test for any democracy" and then goes on to explain why we should all shut up and accept the decisions made for us by our betters. And incidentally, Senator Segal spends a fair amount of his time promoting a report (pdf) prepared by the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. I read that report and took issue with its conclusions but it's become blindingly obvious that neither Hugh Segal nor Bob Rae has the slightest interest in the opinions of a mere citizen when a Senate committee has already carefully weighed evidence from all sides of the debate.
Of the eighteen witnesses whose testimony was heard in the preparation of the report, nine of them are currently serving senior officers in the Canadian Forces, four of them are retired officers and one of them is a board member of the Conference of Defence Associations. The Karzai government was represented by the current Afghan ambassador to Canada. Our government was represented by former Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan Chris Alexander and by Defence Minister Peter MacKay. The eighteenth witness was Terry Glavin in his capacity as the Research Coordinator for the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee.
Am I suppose to believe that a single report based on testimony from an obviously stacked witness list means that democracy has been served?