Let me count the ways…

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Yes, the pictures of the redecorated Government Lobby in the House of Commons which were posted here yesterday are gone. Gone is Mr. Harper with a jet plane. With hockey players. With troops. With firefighters. With heads of state. With geographical landmarks. With adoring Canadians. All gone.

Like the photos of past Conservative prime ministers, which the Harper Forces stripped from the historic Parliamentary room in order to put up two dozen pictures of the same man, the dear leader – gone, gone, gone.

So, who censored this blog and requested the offending material be obliterated? I did. And there’s a good reason. You should know.

If the pictures remained here, I believe that some blameless, hard-working employees of the House of Commons would be disciplined, or worse. This could be the outcome of complaints made against them by the Government of Canada, for allegedly allowing material which was published here to have been photographed. This situation was made known to me just before QP today, presumably after Conservative officials had been in touch with their counterparts in the Liberal Party.

Just to be clear, no political colleague of mine ordered the pictures off this blog. No Harper official has gone on record asking for it, either. But by using the threat of professional injury to Commons security personnel, unless it happened, that outcome has taken place.

Vanity was just a lark, of course. Bullying is indefensible.

Intimidation and censorship? Let me count the ways…

Caucus combat?

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Without giving up party secrets, I’d say it’s likely the Liberal National Caucus meeting Wednesday morning will be fought over the issue of Afghanistan. The Manley Report recommends that Canada stay there for an indefinite period of time (sort of), so long as we get some help. The NDP and BQ want us out. Stephane Dion’s position, oft-repeated, is that we should have no combat role after this time next year.

The Harper Conservatives want an open-ended mission, and are doing what right-wing governments across the world do, which is to embrace nationalism, patriotism and a dollop of militarism. Our troops, of course, think they’re doing work that needs to be done. Our NATO allies agree, and love watching us do it. The Americans are sending reinforcements, but only for seven months.

If the Manley Report is endorsed by Parliament, it will only be with Dion’s help. Yet my morning newspaper tells me my colleagues are bitterly divided over what course of action to take. As usual, that is probably overstated and purposefully divisive. But, who knows? I’m latching up the Velcro on my flak jacket at this moment, as I head into the caucus room.

Meanwhile, the fine contributors to this blog have a duty to advise us vacillating, weather-vane politicians. So, let’s have it. I’ll ensure my colleagues hear what you have to say.

Manley, or no? Or, just manly?