Thursday, January 18, 2007

Khan Job

When Stephen Harper appointed then-Liberal MP Wajid Khan as special adviser on Middle East matters, while many of us praised the appointment as an act of bipartisan statesmanship, we also had to wonder what the value of Khan's particular advice was going to be.

We know now:

Wajid Khan, the Prime Minister's special adviser on the Middle East, has expressed support for an Arab initiative that would see Israel return to its pre-1967 borders.

The Arab Peace Initiative would go further than any position publicly stated by the Prime Minister. Indeed, Stephen Harper, as opposition leader, told the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy during last year's election campaign that it was impractical to demand Israel hand back all land it took after the 1967 war.

The comments from Mr. Khan are in an interview the then-Liberal MP gave to the Ramallah-based daily newspaper, Al-Hayat al-Jadida (The New Life), last fall.

They offer another glimpse into the tone and content of the Mississauga-Streetsville MP's meetings during an 18-day tour of the Middle East last fall.

The report from Mr. Khan's trip has been kept under wraps by the Prime Minister's Office, feeding speculation it may contain recommendations that differ from present Canadian policy in the region, and fuelling calls for its release after Mr. Khan's defection to the Conservative Party earlier this month.

In the interview, which was translated into Arabic, Mr. Khan said his report to the Prime Minister would be used as a basis for future "political and economic" dealings, and said that Canada would welcome the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

Did Stephen Harper expect a former Pakistan air force officer from a riding full of Muslim voters to make recommendations favourable to Israel? Almost certainly not.

Did he expect Khan to say one thing to him in English and another to his fellow Muslims in Urdu or Arabic? If not, he's got a lot to learn about taqiyya .

Khan has put Harper on the horns of a dilemma. If he releases the report, it looks like the government is doing a complete reversal of its Middle East policy as the price of getting Khan to cross the floor. Much more costly than a mere cabinet appointment.

If he doesn't, he only confirms that the report is so completely contradictory to current policy that releasing it would look like another flip-flop.

Perhaps Wajid Khan is becoming our own Belinda Stronach: worse for us inside the tent than outside.

Source: Globe and Mail


RepoCreepo said...

I honestly believe that in the short term its bad and in the long term its not going to matter much. Its one riding in the gta that probably wont come back to the conservatives. While I understand the motive behind it all, it just seems someone should have done their homework on Khan before agreeing to the floor crossing.

William E. Demers said...

I think Khan's defection is fine, so long as he is not dictating policy. And of course he isn't.

It's good to have a man of his background and experience working with the Conservatives in Ottawa.

jeff davidson said...

william e. demers is proof that putting an initial in the middle of your name is no guarentee that you're not a complete idiot.

Anonymous said...


your level of insult is expected, but it isn't helpful.

Personally I don't know enough about Khan as he isn't my MP. Time will tell whether he's and asset or a liability.

I find it interesting that Liberal MPs and supporters like jeff are in high gear to discredit him since his defection.

ET said...

What's wrong with Israel returning to its 1967 borders? Why permit Israel to keep its illegal settlements?

As for Khan's suggestions, as Demers pointed out, he doesn't dictate policy and the issue of exact borders of a two-state reality has to be discussed, debated and finalized. It's called the necessity for 'dissent' and that's a democratic requirement.

Or - do you suggest that all opinions should be similar, like sheep?

Anonymous said...

your level of insult is expected, but it isn't helpful.

Oh, yes it is. Instead of blah-blah'ing through 3000 words to dissect the utter fatuity of you Con boneheads, it's highly efficient (don't you CONS prize efficiency?) to simply highlight a comment's true and pure essence.

Don't try to pretend a stupid comment is anything else but that and that a commenter who's in the habit of making such comments is likewise stupid.

Anonymous said...


Simply making insults speak directly the level at which someone is willing to engage in any conversation.

It's unfortunate that's the only level some are willing speak at.

John M Reynolds said...

Getting back on topic, I agree with et. It may be impractical to go back to 1967 boarders in the short term, but it should not be off the bargaining table for the final establishment of two states. -- John M Reynolds