Helena Guergis Endangers Canadian MPs in Afghanistan
From June 20, 2008
On May 22, 2007, Alex Panetta and James McCarten of the Canadian Press informed readers of the security precautions taken for Stephen Harper's trip to Afghanistan: "Only upon leaving Europe were the journalists informed of the final destination. They were warned in a briefing by security officials that they risked arrest and prosecution under the National Defence Act and the Official Secrets Act if they did one of two things: mention the prime minister's itinerary during the next layover, or describe the location of that layover to anyone. Reporters were told they could wind up in handcuffs for breaking the rules."
Nine months after Stephen Harper's trip, Liberal leader Stephane Dion and deputy leader Michael Ignatieff went to Afghanistan to meet President Hamid Karzai. While there, Helena Guergis, Conservative MP and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, informed the press that, "I think [Dion] should apologize to our troops while he is touring the PRT." Dion was scheduled to visit the PRT - the Provincial Reconstruction Team - twelve hours later.
Said opposition MP Andrea Matrosovs: "In her petty attempt to criticize the efforts of Mr. Dion and Mr. Ignatieff, she put their lives at unnecessary risk, revealing in advance that they would be leaving the base to visit the Provincial Reconstruction Team in the south where Canadians are working."
"Ms. Guergis complains Mr. Dion didnít go soon enough, but then insists it takes time for the department in which she works to plan these trips because of the necessary security. Her flippant comments then undermine Mr. Dionís security. Thatís shameful.Ē
It was also dangerously incompetent.