Is Baird damaging Conservative election prospects?

Chantal Hebert opines in the Toronto Star that John Baird did great damage in Bali to the Conservatives' election prospects. She said that Baird's performance "amounted to ripping a scab off a wound that had barely begun to heal". She concluded that "the Bali meeting was a multi-day communications disaster for the Harper regime. It set back a year of Conservative efforts to rebrand the party on climate change and confirmed the issue as the government's Achilles heel."

The Conservatives have been struggling for the past year to rebrand themselves as Conservatives with an environmental conscience. That has been shattered by the images of Baird aligning himself with the US and Japan to block progress in Bali and reinforced by TV footage showing him going out the back door to avoid young environmentalists.

Stephane Dion can only take some comfort from Baird's antics in Bali as the Conservatives align themselves even more closely with the outgoing Bush administration.

Afghan mission being reviewed

The Washington Post reports that the Bush White House is reviewing the status of the war in Afghanistan. They are said to be deeply concerned about the prospect of failure in Afghanistan. With no American trropds available, Bush officials are expected to continue pressing for more NATO troops to fight an insurgency that made this the most violent year since the Taliban and Al Qaeda were routed in December 2001.

According to Julianne Smith, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies,the mission in Afghanistan is at risk of failure, as political support in European capitals is straining NATO’s ability to sustain, let alone expand its effort there.
“The mission in Afghanistan has been suffering from neglect on all sides,” she said.