The “Bob and Weave” Harper Neo-Cons and the McCain-Palin Connection
CPS Election Analysis 2008 - Week 2
September 7, 2008

The Harper brain trust has veiled its neo-con program during the election campaign. Elections can’t be won by openly calling for more war, more energy sell-out, more economic decline and more global warming. But that’s what Canadians will get if Harper is re-elected.
The “bob and weave” Harper Conservatives can be “straightened”; with a couple of short left hooks. The first is to fully expose the Harper-McCain-Palin Big Oil connection.
The US neo-con connection to the Harper Conservatives is not primarily through the emotional fervour and hair brained ideology of the US religious right. It doesn’t play that well in Canada. The connection metaphorically speaking runs through the Trans Canada Pipeline via the Calgary Petroleum Club, the University of Calgary’s Political Science Department and its Fraser Institute star, Professor Tom Flanagan who was Harper’s campaign manager in the 2004 federal election. From there it goes straight to Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s Alaska doorstep. Sarah Palin may be a “hockey mom” but she is on US Big Oil’s Team and Stephen Harper is their chosen Canadian right-winger.
The second left hook that needs to be landed squarely is at the Harper-McCain-Palin rationale for expanding the US-NATO war in Afghanistan. A Harper re-election means a deeper and longer commitment of Canadian armed forces to the war in Afghanistan.
Today the Harper election campaign announced a 21 point plan for the next three years in Afghanistan. The plan talks about building schools, training teachers and police, administering polio vaccines and rebuilding a crumbling dam all in the midst of a intensifying war with a resurgent Taliban.
What Defense Minister Peter McKay mutes is the real goal of the Harper Plan for the war, a US-NATO victory in Afghanistan. How will the military victory be achieved? US Army Gen. David D. McKiernan took charge of the 51,000-member International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from US Gen. Dan McNeill, in August. The change in command foreshadows a US troop surge to 120,000 operating in the Afghan theatre backed by a $20 billion infusion into the war. Both McCain and Obama support variants of this plan. With Harper in charge Canada is in for a long and costly war under US command.
The Harper Conservatives must not be permitted to promote the war in Afghanistan as a “moral obligation” of the Canadian people. It is nothing of the sort. The Harper policy is uncritical support for US strategy in Central Asia. If Harper is re-elected Canada will be into a deepening and widening conflict with tragic results for Canadian youth and the people of Afghanistan.
In 2006 the CBC reported that Canadian regular forces weren’t enough to achieve “Canadian” goals in Afghanistan. Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, commander of the Canadian army, told the House of Commons defence committee that to complete the mission in Kandahar, now extended to 2011 by the Liberal Manley-Ignatieff-Rae betrayal, the army will need its 18,000 reservists. CBC in 2006 reported 300 reservists were serving in Kandahar. In February 2008 Defense Minister Peter McKay announced legislation designed to protect reservist’s jobs in government and the private sector and their student status in the event of deployment to Afghanistan.
For the opposition parties to downplay the consequences of an expanded US-NATO war in Afghanistan is the same thing as helping Harper’s re-election. If you are against the war in Afghanistan – say so and say so unequivocally.