Let me declare my bias and conflict of interest up front. Bill Crosbie, Canada's ambassador to Afghanistan, is my cousin and at one time, when nepotism wasn't a high crime, many years ago I worked for him. Now with that out of the way let me say how proud of him I am - and I think many Canadians are - for the judgment and class he has displayed on what no doubt has been a difficult few days.
Some leaker or leakers seeking their own benefit gave the press a confidential memo Bill wrote in which he gave a very frank assessment of the internal corruption challenges in Afghanistan. The language in the memo suggested he didn't pull his punches and further revelations said he was prepared to resign if his advice and public awareness of it were damaging to the government. This is a man who has been a diplomat for nearly 20 years willing to put his career to waste on points of principle. Such thinking and approaches are rare in this day and age.
It has been equally pleasing to see the Prime Minister and the opposition leaders back Bill instead of hanging him out to dry. While they all no doubt have certain political calculations at play, it is also refreshing that there seems to be legitimacy in standing with a Canadian diplomat who is doing the job we asked him to do.
Bill would be the first one to tell you he isn't special. He'd remind you he is part of a team at Foreign Affairs that does what is asked to do with professionalism and pride. Having met many of them I'd agree.
Maybe all this WikiLeaks nonsense this week and the copycat behaviour it has engendered showcases competent displays of leadership as opposed to the opposite. The irony of knowing diplomats like Bill are doing their job might just diminish the appeal of WikiLeaks and the copycats whose commitment to public good is approaching non-existent.
Bill Crosbie has done it right. He deserves our support.
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