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Advice to Speaker Milliken

My first piece of advice: don’t let the government fool you into thinking they’re complying with the demand from Parliament to hand over all relevant Afghan documents unredacted and uncensored, when they go and hand over redacted and heavily censored Afghanistan documents, and none of the documents that was requested by the Parliamentary committee. This is just a propaganda effort from the government designed to fool you into thinking they’re complying.

My 2nd piece of advice; you’ve said you would rule on the opposition parties points of order points of privilege saying the government is ignoring Parliament and in contempt if they do not turn over those unredacted documents once […]

'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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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