Mali mission enters national conversation

Tease the day: Mixed messages from cabinet don't stop papers from debating merits of prospective mission


Canadians spent the last decade acquainting themselves with Afghanistan in one way or another—maybe they completed a tour of duty, or know someone who did so, or know someone who knows someone. Or maybe they worked for an NGO that operates in Afghanistan. Or maybe they were a Canadian diplomat overseas. Or maybe they studied the country extensively as they worked towards post-secondary degrees. Or maybe they simply read a lot about the troubled nation in the papers. No matter, Afghanistan’s plight slowly recedes from our collective consciousness. Perhaps that’s what’s so disturbing about the Ottawa Citizen‘s front page this morning. The paper features an Afghani warlord who predicts his country could descend into anarchy as soon as foreign troops withdraw over the next couple of years. Were that to come true, what should we all think?

Meanwhile, Mali enters our national conversation. Increasingly, newspapers speculate on the nature and impact of any Canadian contribution to a mission—so far, military trainers are all the scuttlebutt—meant to combat extremists in the African country’s northern region. Mixed messages from John Baird, the foreign minister, and Peter MacKay, the defence minister, mean there’s no certainty of any Canadian presence in Mali. That hasn’t stopped the National Post from supporting deployment of military trainers. For its part, the Toronto Star thinks Parliament should debate the merits of any prospective mission. None of this suggests Mali is “the next Afghanistan”, not by a long shot, but we might soon see Bamako replace Kabul in our papers’ foreign pages.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with federal immigration reform that will match skilled newcomers with Canadian employers. The National Post fronts the “fiscal cliff” deal that, at press time, wasn’t finalized—but was approved overnight. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the city’s first baby of 2013, and below the fold with the “fiscal cliff” deal. The Ottawa Citizen leads with an Afghani warlord’s dreary prediction of anarchy in his country when foreign troops withdraw. iPolitics fronts Bloomberg‘s look at the “fiscal cliff” deal and the next Congressional battle over the debt ceiling. leads with the Associated Press‘s take on the same story. National Newswatch showcases Susan Delacourt’s story in the Toronto Star about Liberal leadership contender Justin Trudeau’s approach to upcoming debates.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Drug shortages. The Toronto Star speaks with a woman who experienced a series of serious health issues after drug shortages led her to less effective prescriptions. 2. Missing Canadians. The Ottawa-born ex-husband of Omar Khadr’s sister is missing in Afghanistan with his pregnant partner. They were last heard from in October.
3. Korean academics. The National Post sheds light on a mysterious academic exchange program at the University of British Columbia that welcomed North Korean students and professors. 4. Bank notes. Despite examples of Canada’s new polymer bills melting in hot conditions, including on top of heaters, the Bank of Canada remains confident in the new bills’ integrity.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.