Winnipeg Free Press | 05Aug2010 | Orest Slepokura

In the bleachers

In March 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper affirmed his government's commitment to Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan, telling hundreds of soldiers there that Canada won't "cut and run" so long as he's in charge. "You can't lead from the bleachers. I want Canada to be a leader," he told Canadian troops at the Kandahar airfield base the day after he arrived.

With no victory in sight, the Harper government has decided that the bulk of Canadian Forces will have left Afghanistan within a year. It seems Harper believes Canadians should now be content to merely sit out events in "the bleachers," far from the decision-making levers of power. The won't-cut-and-run Stephen Harper of 2006 would surely hold this more reasonable and accommodating 2010 version of Stephen Harper's political persona in low regard.

Orest Slepokura