Foreign affairs put Harper to test
In an interview, the prime minister concluded his longest foreign tour -- and his most serious predicament -- with the frank observation."One of the biggest surprises I've had in this job has been the degree to which foreign policy has really taken a lot of my time," he said as he prepared to board his plane for the return flight home.Oh sure so he micro-manages Foreign Affairs, when he has a Minister to do that for him. Instead the PMO had to approve every little thing being done around the crisis in Lebanon, including the usual keeping their actions underwraps from the media. Our autocratic PM's involvement meant that this evacuation became a disaster in the waiting thanks to his micro-management. His useless trip to Cyprus was another photo-op, when in fact he could have sent his Air Bus there empty to pick up Canadians, and flown home on the Canadian Challenger. The Harper mission of mercy was a cynical political ploy, the reality is that the PMO screwed up the rescue mission by its inherent need to keep King Stephen's fingers in every pie. Now he has pie on his face.
Evacuation begins in earnest
The government reacted angrily to a report in Thursday's Globe and Mail that micromanagement by the Prime Minister's Office contributed to confusion and delays surrounding the evacuation of Canadians from Beirut.
Mr. MacKay leaped to the defence of the PMO and strongly criticized the story in a letter to the editor that he released to other media.
The report said there were not enough staff at the Canadian embassy in Beirut to cope with the thousands of frantic Canadians seeking help and described the difficulties in organizing an evacuation by water when there were no Canadian naval vessels in the area and many countries were bidding for the same commercial ships.
Federal sources said the situation was exacerbated by the Prime Minister's centralized command and communications policies and an edict from Sandra Buckler, the Prime Minister's communications director, that no information be released on the evacuation efforts.
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