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'So be it'

If the Conservatives and Prime Minister Stephen Harper threaten to dissolve Parliament and force an election rather then be forced to turn documents over to Parliament (and having the spectacle of Parliament’s Sergeant-At-Arms seizing the documents/arresting Cabinet Ministers for contempt of Parliament), that’s their prerogative, and their problem. Nowhere in any of the motions of the opposition parties points of order do they state that the failure to produce documents would be considered a loss of confidence in the Conservative government.

The fact that the Conservative government would rather face an election then turn those documents over to either a public inquiry judge or a Parliamentary committee with proper national […]

The opposition parties stand up for democracy today.

The Speaker has been handed 3 separate points of privilege by the 3 opposition parties today, all asking that the Speaker find the Conservative government in contempt of Parliament for their refusal so far to turn over all unredacted documents referring to Afghan detainees and their treatment (as demanded in a Parliament vote before Christmas), if they continue to refuse to turn over said documents to Parliament.

The liveblogging of the event here from Kady. The full wording of Liberal Derek Lee’s motion here at Maclean’s from Aaron Wherry.

What happens next? Well, the Speaker has reserved judgment for today after hearing arguments. If he rules in favour of the […]

So asking questions about the detainees is an insult to the Cdn troops?

That’s apparently Stephen Harper’s view from his Google Youtube “interview”.

Normally, I’d be outraged, and post a long-winded rant about what a misleading and idiotic a statement that is, except Harper and his government (see Peter MacKay) have been saying that schtick for awhile (and a large portion of the Canadian electorate/public aren’t buying it) so it doesn’t surprise me he’d repeat it in a scripted tightly controlled “interview”.

Good response here though from a commentator at Susan Delacourt’s blog, that bears repeating:

Our troops didn’t commit torture, they reported it. Ottawa ignored, neglected and denied that those reports did exist, and, tried to destroy the reputation of the person […]

Conservatives still trying to play games at Afghanistan Committee.

So here we are at the newly reconstituted parliamentary committee looking at the Afghanistan detainees situation and at the thorny question of the documentation surrounding Canadian policy and such, and there should be no surprise that the Conservatives immediately try some gamesplaying.

Not a surprise, and not a surprise Laurie Hawn would be the chief instigator of it:

Laurie Hawn then brings forward a motion of his own about former justice Iacobucci, which would recommend that the esteemed jurist review “all relevant documents,” with a particular emphasis on those prepared between 2001 and 2005..Lalonde reminds Hawn that the committee does have a “constitutional right” to see all documents; its members […]

The detainee document story continues to grow.

CBC has been doing a bang-up job the last few days on the Afghan detainee documents; the latest revelations was on the 5 pm Power and Politics show yesterday detailing the Conservative government’s plan for PR if torture allegations came to light or even were confirmed:

(H/T Scott Ross for the video)

On another note, it looks like the whisperings about Harper not wanting to be accountable to Parliament and instead trying to get a majority to avoid it by yet again dissolving Parliament and holding an election has been picked up by some in the media – James Travers for one seems pretty certain of it:

Despite Conservative […]

Would Harper rather go to an election then release the detainee docs?

There are rumours and quotations from unnamed PMO staffers that if push came to shove, Harper and the Conservatives would rather dissolve Parliament and call an election over the issue of turning over the unredacted Afghanistan detainee documents if they were found in contempt of Parliament and/or the Speaker issued a Warrant ordering the documents to be turned over to Parliament.

Seems a bit drastic and like a lot of brinkmanship on the part of the Conservatives, you might think. Then again, if the reports from Friday on CBC and via Professor Attaran is true – that Canadian officials wanted certain high-value prisoners tortured to get extra intelligence out of […]

CSIS involved in interrogating/transferring of Afghan detainees

In the wake of Friday’s allegations from Professor Attaran that Canada turned over prisoners to Afghanistan knowing they’d be tortured in order to get intelligence out of them, this report from the Canadian Press today adds even more fuel to the demands for a full fledged public inquiry and/or the Conservative government turning over all unredacted documents to Parliament:

Security experts stunned by CSIS’s role in questioning Taliban fighters who may have been tortured:

Officers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service have played a crucial and long-standing role as interrogators of a vast swath of captured Taliban fighters, The Canadian Press has learned..The spy agency’s previously unknown role in questioning […]

In light of CBC report, demand full document release now.

This rather explosive allegation was on CBC news last night – that Canadian officials not only knew some Afghan prisoners were being tortured, but they WANTED some of them to be tortured to glean “intelligence” and information out of them:

Federal government documents on Afghan detainees suggest that Canadian officials intended some prisoners to be tortured in order to gather intelligence, according to a legal expert. If the allegation is true, such actions would constitute a war crime, said University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran, who has been digging deep into the issue and told CBC News he has seen uncensored versions of government documents released last year.

“If […]

Conservatives talking out of both sides of their mouth

Michael Ignatieff came out yesterday with a strongly worded appeal to the Prime Minister to support safe abortion and family planning programs abroad if he was serious about wanting to aid in improving the lives of women overseas.

One of the PMO’s spokespersons, or at least a spokesperson for Harper, came back with this angry retort:

Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for Harper, said it was “sad” and “pathetic” that the Liberals were using women’s health as a “political football.”

That quote comes today at the same time we see the Conservative Party planning to send out a new 10%’er ad they’re about to release which tries to use soldiers as […]

If no one cares about detainee issue, Mr Harper, then release the uncensored documents

Harper came out on his CBC interview with Peter Mansbridge tonight claiming that the Canadian public “don’t care” about the issue.

Well, Mr Harper, if people don’t care, then there should be no reason for you to not hand over the documents to Parliament and by proxy the Afghanistan Committee – as voted on and ordered by Parliament (as you’re eventually going to have to anyhow, I predict).

Concurrently, there should also be no reason if people don’t care why you can’t and haven’t been handing those same documents over to the Military Police Commission, which is authorized to read potential secret documents and refrain from releasing them if […]

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