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Lebanon and the Irony Party of Canada

As it is becoming obvious to anyone watching and reading, the Canadian government's reaction to the crisis in Lebanon has left something to be desired. So slow was the government in moving that before Sunday, the only official announcement was a travel advisory issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs. This would be of help to those planning trips, but would do nothing for the tens of thousands of Canadians that the government knew were trapped in Lebanon.

And the reason for the painfully slow response? It appears that the good Prime Minister has all decisions coming from Ottawa and that the PMO's "communications" director Sandra Buckler put a lid on all information about the situation.

The Conservative Party of Canada - giving a whole new meaning to the word "communications". I can see the campaign billboards now.

PS - Does anyone else think that this is beginning to look like Stephen Harper's Hurricane Katrina? I mean, he's even flying in to Cyprus with a little press crew and his wife for some CYA "rescue" photo ops now that the damage is done.

The alternative to keeping a lid on it, is announcing the evacuation plans in detail , to the media, and thusly the terrorists. Wouldn't that make fleeing Canadians an easy target?
Had more Canadians been killed, while trying to escape, as per instruction, what then would the headlines have been?

A delicate juggling act for sure.

It's interesting that no other governments felt that way - not even the Americans. I don't think that anyone at the high levels seriously thought that fleeing foreigners would be directly targeted. There would be a real threat of accidental strikes, which is why the call earlier in the week for a pause to get people out.

It is a precarious situation, to be sure - and by the sounds of it the adventure for those leaving Lebanon is not over even when the get on the ship.

I don't think it will be his Katrina, the conservatives are being pretty vocal in supporting Harper's moves and spinning the story.

Though if the situation worsens, it will be hard to hide it.

You have to be aware that the government taking full responsibility for evacuating citizens from a war zone is unprecidented in our history.
Visitors/residents of war zones are generally given travel instructions and wished well.

For whatever my squeaky little voice is worth, after doing some catching up on the news at lunchtime today, I actually think that the government is doing a pretty decent job now. They were definitely slow getting started, and things are slow now owing to the fact that so many people from so many countries are trying to get out, but they will get out, and that's a great thing.

What bothers me most is that Harper is bent on using this as a photo op for no reason other than political gain. I understand the precarious position any minority prime minister finds himself in, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. Or support it.

For the record. Harper isn't using this as a photo-op, he's staying on the plane b/c he doesn't want to look like he's exploiting the issue for personal gain


Thanks for the heads-up, Mike. I hadn't heard that, but I've been AFK for most of the day.

I hate people. Is that ok?

Let me explain - CBC radio played some calls and read some e-mails from listeners regarding the evacuation from Lebanon. Some of the callers and e-mailers were complaining that the government is paying for this evacuation. They were explaining that "those people" chose to be in "that region", and should bloody well pay their own way to get out. They knew that vacationing in Lebanon could be dangerous. Therefore, they should stay in Lebanon and become a statistic. Nevermind that Lebanon and Israel were enjoying a (shaky) peace before the Israeli soldiers ventured across the border and were captured.

One might read between the lines, and suggest that these callers wish for these Lebanese-Canadians to become a statistic. A brown-coloured statistic, I might add. Heartless bastards.

I'm of the opinion that anyone who there's room for should be evacuated from Beirut, regardless of nationality. Israel is attacking power stations, food processing plants, and water treatment centres. The place is going to become a humanitarian crises very quickly (moreso than it already is).

Well this is one of those very rare times I actually agree with the gov't. Let's face it, Canada is 1/2 a world away from Lebanon and we don't have warships so close to that area. Also, the European countries who evacuated their own citizens kind of had "in's" with the ferry companies who shuttled people away to Turkey & Cyprus so they got first dibs on the ships. There are not unlimited numbers of vessels for hire in the region.

I also wonder why some of these ferries commissioned by other gov'ts did not take any Canadian evacuees. Not exactly friendly relations, is it?

How Canada pays for this evacuation remains to be seen. Will those who were evacuated help pay?

As for Harper's diversion of his plane to Cyprus, I think he did the right thing. However when it came to having photos taken upon arrival in Ottawa on the tarmac, it was a cheap press event. Considering he won't let press on the tarmac to take pictures of deceased soldiers' caskets, it's interesting how selective he was for this photo op.

Strong parallels between Canada and Australia... we also have many a talkback radio caller and newspaper letter writer calling for Lebanese Australians' passports to be sent back from The Lebanon without their holders.

the Irony Party of Australia, though, is no friend of those who take this view
(see http://www.ironyparty.org/newsfeed

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