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Internal CPC polling on Veterans Affairs issues must be terrible.

If the Conservative government – led by Harper in Question Period no less – has now decided they’re going to try to blame the Liberals for the current mess in Veteran Affairs (led by their mess of a minister Fantino), polling and reaction to their current shabby treatment of Veterans must be pretty bad.

Their argument gets a tad undercut however when they’ve had 10 years to fix any shortcomings (which Harper and party supported in 2005 and enthusiastically implemented in 2006), and are now in court trying to defend it against angry Veterans (and trying to use the argument the “moral obligation” to help returning vets was just political […]

Quick question/poll

Is Julian Fantino (Minister of Veteran Affairs) the worst Cabinet Minister in the Harper Conservative government right now? That’s saying something in this government, but some folks are now openly asking if he should be replaced. His department faced a withering Auditor-General report on the inefficiencies of the Department is getting aid and help to Veterans, but he was conveniently out of the country so he didn’t have to face the music.

The answer is yes, though I’m not exactly sure anyone who would replace Fantino would do much better. As always with the Harper government, unless public opinion polls (or private ones) show that their disregard for Veterans is […]

‘It is enough for a man to understand his own business; mine occupies me constantly’

Federal Industry Minister James Moore on the federal government’s role (or lack thereof) in reducing child poverty in Canada is basically: let others worry about it:

“Federal minister says child poverty not Ottawa’s problem:

“Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so.” That from Federal Minister of Industry James Moore… He says it’s the responsibility of the provinces to deal with child poverty, and Ottawa has no plans to step in.

In honour of James Moore attitude (and apparently the Conservative Government’s), I present you with this equivalent attitude:

Federal Industry Minister? An appropriate department for his attitude.

UPDATE @ 10:25 pm: Apparently James […]

A Conservative MP with respect for Parliament sighting.

Michael Chong is the Conservative MP for Wellington-Halton-Hills, and served in Prime Minister Harper’s Cabinet in 2006 as Intergovernmental Affairs Minister. He resigned in protest over the “Quebec is a nation” motion put forth by Harper in the House at that time.

He had an interview with CBC’s Sunday Edition, and I found this part of the interview the most interesting of all:

Enright:

Do you think that flowing from Mr. Speaker Milliken’s ruling this week, that parliament does have sovereign power over the issuance of the declaration of these documents? Do you think that has greater repercussions as far as ordinary MP’s are concerned…. that perhaps, that this […]

It's how you look at it.

Very interesting: One blogger of Liberal persuasion looks at Ralph Goodale’s statements of what will occur if Harper and the Conservatives continue to stonewall on releasing detainee documents and sees no signs of fear, while another blogger of NDP persuasion believes he sees signs of ambiguity/backing off.

You won’t be surprised I’m more in line with the former blogger’s view of things then the latter.

I will say this though: I think I’m beginning to agree with the NDP/BQ view that perhaps expanding Iacobucci’s role to be the person leading a full public judicial inquiry isn’t the way to go. I think it would be fine if he acted […]

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 […]

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 […]

Props to Toronto Star reporter John Goddard for his reporting on Suaad Hagi Mohamud

I don’t know what else can be said by me other then that upon reading his commentary in the Star today on his role in reporting on the Suaad Hagi Mohamud case (who is now finally back in Canada after being denied that she was a Canadian for 3 months), and helping to publicly embarrass the Canadian government into action on this case.

One section of his commentary though lists some questions – questions that will need to be answered:

One of the greatest mysteries of the case is how immune the Canadian High Commission proved to be against her natural charm and obvious integrity. When humanitarians from Ecoterra […]

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