Everyone was all happy happy isn't it great that Harper headed off to Afghanistan to pay attention to our troops.
Tedious, political ploy.
The person who should get the real props for visiting our soldiers in Afghanistan in Dec. 2003 is The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, who at the time happened to be Governor-General and Commander in Chief of Canada.
This is the same Governor General who went to Kosovo, spent New Year's Eve with the troops (in the junior mess, no less) in Afghanistan, spent Christmas Eve and Day with the Navy, who was there to commemorate the Liberation of the Netherlands, created a new military decoration, constantly reached out to veterans, was always present at ceremonies and Rememberance Day commemorations.
Any time a politician does it, to me it's just getting votes ("Mission accomplished," anyone?).
The ones you should pay attention to are the ones who have no votes to get - the Governor-General, the Queen, etc. They do it out of a real sense of devotion - because they know that they are the heads of the state that these people are defending.
More importantly, they can represent the state in a nonpartisan way. If you look at the rapturous reception the Queen is getting for her 80th, and you compare it to elected heads' of state popularity (ahem, Bush) - you see the advantage.
With Clarkson, Her Excellency Michaelle Jean, the Queen - there are people who can stand up and speak for Canada and for Britain and speak for everyone. They can thank our soldiers not on behalf of the people who elected them, but on all of our behalf.
And when you see Clarkson, Jean, or the Queen's face light up in smile when she shakes the hand of a veteran or of a current soldier, you can trust that the emotion behind it is real and is for the veteran or soldier, not just for the camera.