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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 […]

The Khadr ruling

Basically, the Supreme Court has split the middle with it’s ruling on Khadr; his Charter Rights have been violated and continue to be violated, but they’ve ruled that for now (I say “for now” because some media are reporting that the ruling states that the SC may act in the future to provide the remedy if the government fails to act) , it’s up to the Government of Canada to provide a remedy for that, and they won’t force the government to call for Khadr’s repatriation, even if that’s considered a good remedy (As stated at his Twitter page by one of the reporters covering this, the Supreme Court provided […]

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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