The opposition has had a field day of sorts in the past few weeks with their constant bombardment of the Conservatives over the treatment of terrorist/insurgent detainees in Afghanistan.
The Bloc would like to see these prisoners offered a get out of jail free card, the NDP wants them to be included in some sort of restorative justice program, and the Liberals would like these criminals kidnapped from their native land, and jailed in Canada.
The ungodly Conservatives want Afghan prisoners to be (gasp) imprisoned in Afghanistan.
So how is it that out of these four options, the Conservatives ended up wearing this mess? The appearance of inconsistent messaging, that is how.
Any little alteration of message by a Conservative MP was picked up by the opposition parties and the press and distorted to the max.
As the opposition picked away at this issue for weeks upon end, it was obviously of great importance to them, and through them their constituents, who represent a majority of Canadian citizens.
On a matter that important, it falls to the Prime Minister to go directly to the people and explain the situation. Harper should have done a prime time address on national TV, and laid out the situation once and for all, without the usual media filter.
After all, if Paul Martin can go to the airwaves in a freak-out over the chance he might lose a confidence vote, surely Stephen Harper can go to the people when the representatives of 60% of the Canadian population are foaming at the mouth demanding answers?
Perhaps it is too late now, but as Harper's previous skirting of the press gallery by going to the local press showed, if your message is being purposefully distorted, there are other ways to get your message out. One well timed address to the Canadian people on our role in Afghanistan, the treatment of terrorist/insurgent prisoners, and the absurd solutions offered by the opposition, would have taken the air out of all this, and quick.