Via Jeff, this report from the Globe and Mail details Gordon O'Connor's defiant response to questions as to whether he is resigning his post as Minister of National Defence.
A defiant Gordon O'Connor said yesterday he has no intention of quitting as Defence Minister, and warned his critics not to assume he is about to turfed from the portfolio in a widely expected cabinet shuffle.I'll take July 20th.
"I can assure you of one thing: I'm not retiring and I'm not resigning," Mr. O'Connor told reporters at a military conference in Kingston. "And if you want to run a pool, go ahead. You're going to lose."
The minister told the conference he expects to deliver the government's long-awaited policy paper, which will include elements of the government's current policy in support of the Afghanistan mission, by the end of the summer."Long awaited". As in, way overdue. What's the rush, Gordo? You've only been promising it since the summer of 2006.
The G&M, undeterred by O'Connor's statement, went on to speculate on the possible choices to fill the MND role when O'Connor is turfed this summer. Oh... how do we know that? Well this is pretty telling:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to respond last week when he was asked about a potential realignment of the cabinet and whether it would involve Mr. O'Connor. But neither did Mr. Harper jump to express continued confidence in his Defence Minister, who has been criticized for his handling of several files, including the treatment of detainees and the payment of funeral costs for soldiers killed in the line of duty.And why don't we pour a little gasoline on that fire.
Mr. O'Connor came to the defence of the Afghan mission in his speech yesterday to the conference on "stability operations," insisting the Afghan army was making such great strides that he could foresee the day when it could take over much of the combat mission now being handled by Canada's 2,500 troops based in Kandahar.Yeah?
Yet at the same time, Mr. O'Connor was blunt in his assessment of the long-term prospects for Afghanistan, using the kind of unsubtle language that has got him into political hot water before. "Afghanistan has always been a land of instability," he said in response to a conference questioner, adding later, that "I think the area is always going to be unstable."
He said the security situation along the border with Pakistan remains difficult to police, in part because there are millions of ethnic Pashtuns in both countries. "There is a steady stream of insurgents coming across the border," he said.
Later, he tried to temper those comments when asked about them by reporters. "What I'm saying is that Afghanistan is in an unstable region and there will always be challenges to Afghanistan. Our job and NATO's job is to try and create a state that is stable enough to handle its own affairs so it can govern efficiently."
That's not the same mission we were all told about. We were told that the mission was to transform Afghanistan, and now O'Connor is telling us that isn't possible. We've been saying that all along.
Gordon. Pack your kit. Steve is going to fire you.
Two senior cabinet members, Industry Minister Maxime Bernier and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, have been touted as the most likely successors to Mr. O'Connor at Defence.And why Maxime "deregulate everything" Bernier?
Mr. Bernier's name has been cited by Conservatives who believe a Quebec minister would make the best spokesman for the mission when the Quebec-based Royal 22nd Regiment deploys to Kandahar.Wow. What a reason! OK, so why does Stockwell Day get consideration?
Mr. Day, meanwhile, is seen by many Tories as a surprise success because he has avoided major public pitfalls in a portfolio plagued with tricky issues and bad news, including a spate of RCMP controversies.That's because Day is off in la-la-land pursuing his superstitious beliefs, making things up about people and failing to provide accurate answers on anything and everything. He has only avoided the public pitfalls because he runs and hides when things get tough and the news media has been giving him a free ride. If his feet had been held to the fire when he screwed up, or if others within his portfolio screwed up, he'd be in the same boat as O'Connor right now.
It doesn't really matter. They're all a bunch of boobs. O'Connor is a liability in his present seat, so it doesn't really matter who they put in the seat.
In any case, watch the calendar and watch O'Connor. And watch the defence policy paper take even longer.