It turns out that the Tories embrace of traditional flag protocol is about ten minutes old.
In 2004, if you remember, the fire aboard HMCS Chicoutimi resulted in the death of submariner Lieut. Chris Saunders. CTV reports that:
...it was actually a Conservative MP -- James Moore -- who put forward a motion calling for flags on all government buildings to be flown at half-mast [on that occasion].
The motion was passed unanimously and up to now, has been policy ever since.
So, to put it bluntly, the Conservatives were for the Liberal flag protocol before they were against it. And what can possibly account for the sudden flip-flop? Well, the argument people like retired General, former Conservative MP wannabe, and once pro-Milosovic toady Lewis Mackenzie are making here is that hey, fuck man, now we're at war and people get killed all the time.
So it seems to me that the Tories aren't trying to hide the nature of our mission in Afghanistan. Rather, they are trying to change Canadian attitudes towards it. They want us to view the deaths over there as routine.
Update 9:52 pm: Thanks to Robert McClelland for his link to My Blahg where there is the transcript of James Moore's original motion.