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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 […]

Do the Conservatives have ADHD (Afghanistan Deficit Hyperactivity-Disorder)?

This is a very curious story over at Macleans on the sequence of events so far. Twenty eight countries have appointed officials to work with Richard Holbrooke on Afghanstan – the U.S. Special Represetative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, who was personally picked by President Obama, and who reports directly to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Six months ago, Holbrooke personally requested the Canadian government for a representative from our country, and we still haven’t done anything, and apparently aren’t anywhere close to picking someone:

When Barack Obama appointed him at the beginning of 2009.. several countries immediately named Afghanistan-Pakistan envoys who would serve as direct interlocutors for Holbrooke. The Brits, […]

Some more on the Conservatives imitating Ebenezer Scrooge vis-a-vis KAIROS

Ellie Kirzner of NOW Magazine takes apart Jason Kenney and his ally in the Toronto Star Rosie DiManno, and their attacks on KAIROS. I’m going to quote a large excerpt, because it’s a good piece:

…So unsettling is the anti-Semitism charge that many are preferring to believe that Kenney really didn’t say what it seems he said. Rosie DiManno in Monday’s Star argues that the minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism didn’t overtly accuse KAIROS of anything but merely opined that the group had taken “a leadership role in the boycott’’ of Israel. That’s the tack the Canada Israel Committee is taking too. When I ask Sara Saber, the organization’s […]

Continued bad optics for the Conservatives re: Afghanistan Committee

#1 Bad optic – The Conservatives will continue to boycott the Afghanistan Committee investigating the Afghan detainee situation, meaning there will be no quorum and no formal hearing, renewing the charges of this government trying to coverup and squelch the truth over this messy affair for them.

#2 Bad optic: That hasn’t stopped the opposition members from having witnesses testify ‘informally’:

According to the NDP, there are two witnesses scheduled for tomorrow: Amnesty International lawyer Paul Champ, and retired diplomat Gar Pardy. Here’s the explanation, courtesy of Paul Dewar’s office:

Champ is Amnesty’s lawyer in the case on detainees. He can speak on the information that led Amnesty and […]

KAIROS Canada member churches speak out against Kenney's 'anti-Semitic' charges.

As I was hoping they’d do, the member churches that belong to KAIROS Canada are starting to push back against the federal Conservatives and Jason Kenney for his remarks that KAIROS Canada was stopped CIDA funding due to the organization being anti-Semitic or anti-Israel:

The United Church of Canada and other Canadian churches are demanding Prime Minister Stephen Harper explain why one of his cabinet ministers accused them of being anti-Semitic. The United, Catholic and Anglican churches are part of KAIROS, an aid group that was shocked to hear Immigration Minister Jason Kenney say its funding was lifted as part of the Conservatives’ effort to cut off anti-Semitic organizations. “It’s […]

My vote for Canadian Newsmaker of the year (and other related items)

If I had a vote for that (and yes, why don’t we also make it for Canadian Of The Year as suggested here), it would be without a doubt cast for Canadian diplomat/intelligence officer Richard Colvin. His brave decision to testify (in the face of Conservative government threats to the public service not to cooperate with the House of Commons Afghanistan Committee Commission or the Military Police Commission) helped to expose the cover-ups and political gaming of the Afghan detainees issue, and the Conservative government’s apparent disinterest (or worse) in making sure detainees who were turned over to the Afghanistan Secret Service weren’t tortured, as demanded by the Geneva Conventions. […]

Colvin returns fire.

Diplomat and intelligence officer Richard Colvin sent forth his detailed counter-rebuttal to the government’s talking points and friendly witnesses that tried to discredit his testimony to the House of Commons Afghanistan Committee. There is some devastating stuff here, that counters point by point the list of points the government and their friendly General witnesses tried to use against his testimony – here are a couple of the 16 counterpoints Colvin uses:

2. . ‘As soon as we were informed, we fixed the problems.’

From Colvin’s rebuttal:

All this information ‐‐ internal reporting from Canadian officials in the field, reports from the US and UN, plus face‐to‐face interventions with policy‐makers […]

If precedent is any indicator on parliamentary privilege, the Cons will lose in court.

… if it even gets that far (more below):

Some good investigation work by the CBC here on similar cases to the one we now potentially face, with the government refusing to hand over the Afghan documents to the Parliamentary Committee on Afghanistan as ordered in a vote by the will of Parliament and Parliamentary supremacy. If these cases serve as precedent, then the Conservative government may have a losing case on its hands:

Canada’s top court has looked at the question of parliamentary privilege in two recent-ish cases. The first is from the early 1990s and it involves the CBC. In this case, the Nova Scotia legislature refused to […]

The Conservatives pull out their old playbook.

It appears they’ve decided rather then prorogue, they’re just going to follow one of the tactics that their infamous “Parliamentary playbook” from a couple of years ago suggested they do on disrupting committees potentially unfriendly to the government’s cause – and that is the Conservative MP’s have boycotted the Afghanistan committee, thus preventing it from having a minimum quorum of MP’s and being able to operate.

The opposition MP’s are actually doing pretty well in holding an “informal” meeting, as you can see from Kady’s liveblogging, but we see another example of the government’s attempts to stonewall any more testimony or information being brought to light over this affair […]

The truth will keep dripping out..

…even if Harper does prorogue. Someone is making sure of that by giving the Globe & Mail’s Paul Koring more unredacted documents of Richard Colvin that he sent to Ottawa -this time about how even Canada’s allies in Afghanistan were extremely critical of our secrecy and handling of Afghan detainees:

Canada was faulted by military allies in Afghanistan over the secretive manner with which it handled detainees in the early months of its Kandahar mission, The Globe and Mail has learned. Reports from the Canadian embassy in Kabul in September of 2006 reveal there was unease within the military alliance about how Canada was handling suspects it rounded up and […]

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