This is exactly why Stephen Harper has to take to the national airwaves and provide an unfiltered explanation of the whys and whats of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.
The firm said the “communications landscape” is dominated by mounting casualties, and a feeling that “things are getting worse.” Many Canadians believe that the soldiers are part of a U.S.-led mission, and some even think Canada invaded Afghanistan.
Relying on the national media, which are obsessed with body count and little else, will not get the message out on our involvement in Afghanistan.
The media will gladly cover Jack "Taliban" Layton and his cries for retreat, because he is in a comfy media centre just down the hall from their air conditioned offices. The media will not cover the digging of a well in an Afghan town..too far, too hot, too boring. The media will not cover the opening of a girls school in a remote Afghan district..too far, too hot, too boring. The media will not trumpet disgust at the Taliban for beheading a 10 year old boy for delivering bread to an Afghan police station..too far, too hot, too incendiary for peaceful Canadians to read about. (Good on Don Martin for this one.)
The only way to reach everyday Canadians is to speak directly to them through a state of the union type address. Harper needs to explain the UN/NATO involvement in the mission, the reconstruction work, the training of the Afghan Army so they will be better able to replace us and provide security, and he needs to describe the ruthlessness of the enemy. The Taliban are not only brutal enemies of the Afghan people, they are enemies of civilization.
If Paul Martin can go on national TV to beg for his job, surely Mr. Harper can do the same to explain to Canadians why our soldiers are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the people of Afghanistan.