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What I'd like to hear our leaders say about Haiti

They've been on their best behaviour since the devastating earthquake hit, as Susan Riley notes in a fine column in today's Citizen. However, being a veteran Ottawa political observer, Ms. Riley also notes that "the current mood of non-partisan concern … won't last forever."

But where is it written that our political leaders must revert from the current mood of non-partisan concern to the boilerplate nostrums of their respective political parties?


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And, in my dreams, here's what I'd like to hear them say.

Stephen Harper: As in the past, we are again seeing that the men and women who serve in the Canadian Forces - often in very difficult circumstances - are our first line of defence in times of crisis. In order to ensure that Canadians will always be able to take pride in the Forces, I have decided to accept the opposition motion adopted by the House of on December 1, 2009, which called for "a Public Inquiry into the transfer of detainees in Canadian custody to Afghan authorities from 2001 to 2009."

Michael Ignatieff: As I've stated from the beginning of this crisis, this is a time for national solidarity, not political gamesmanship. Sadly, one member of the Liberal caucus failed to meet this standard; while he subsequently reversed his position, I no longer have confidence in him serving as the defence critic for the Official Opposition and shall be naming a replacement when the new session of Parliament begins.

Gilles Duceppe: Yesterday, I wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging him to show leadership in devising a Marshall Plan for Haiti. Today, I am calling on Prime Minister Jean Charest - who has yet to announce any funding - to match the federal government's contributions to relief efforts in Haiti.

Jack Layton: Today, our consumer protection critic, Glenn Thibeault, called on Canadian credit card companies to waive fees on Haiti donations. I heartily endorse this invitation, and am also calling on all members of my caucus, and all New Democrats, to read this column by David Brooks in The New York Times.

(Photo: Soldiers guard a Canadian Forces plane upon its arrival in Port-au-Prince yesterday. Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

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