Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Terry Glavin Is Right:

...the detainee issue arose under Paul Martin's Liberal government. Presumably, this fact would be raised during the course of any hearings into the matter. It is, however, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper that prorogued parliament in order to avoid such hearings, and fled under the cover of darkness.

There's a distinction to be made here.


Ted Betts said...

And now, because of prorogation, Canada may have difficulty responding to the crisis in Haiti:

"ProrogueWatch: In an alternate universe with an unprorogued parliament ...

... the foreign affairs and/or defence committees are, at this very minute, making arrangements to hold emergency meetings to hear from the responsible ministers and senior departmental officials on the situation in Haiti. In this one, however, no such option exists, since those committees were dissolved the instant that the governor general signed that proclamation.

An equally interesting question, which has been put to the relevant department, is just how much money is actually available for immediate recovery efforts and assistance for Haiti, since there is no provision that allows the government request additional funds from the treasury during a period of prorogation. It can reallocate funds within existing budgets, of course, or make use of the contingency fund, if there's anything left at this point in the fiscal cycle, but unlike during an election, it can't request a special warrant from the governor general. I've asked CIDA for the source of the $5 million announced earlier today, as well as an estimate of the money remaining, and I'll update this post as soon as I find out. "

Gayle said...

As I said in the previous post, the original agreement contained safeguards. The insufficiency of those safeguards only became apparent after the CPC won the election.

We know safeguards do protect the prisoners since the current agreement apparently does contain sufficient protections.

So the Liberal Government was guilty of drafting an insufficient agreement. But it is not fair to suggest they simply started handing over prisoners they knew would be tortured. They thought they were protecting them from that.

Jeff said...

So, if I follow the Cons and Glavin here, the Cons knew nothing about torture allegations and didn't lie when they said they knew nothing but everyone knew when the Liberals were in government so they should have done something but we didn't know so we didn't do anything until we did do something.

Are we getting dizzy yet?

bigcitylib said...

True Gayle. Worth noting to that the Libs must know all this would eventually come up, but are willing to go forward anyway.

What's weird is why are the Tories so afraid of this? Surely, though the details may get a bit embarrassing, its a case of "mistakes were made (by two govs) but now they've been fixed". How can that be worse than this slowly unfolding political disaster?

bigcitylib said...

Jeff, what I take from Glavin is that the previous liberal government created a mess that the Tories inherited. I'm not committed to any of his particular epicycles.

JimBobby said...

At the Afgh Cmte mtg before Christmas, NGO witnesses testified that the current agreement is, in fact, NOT working. Detainees are still being tortured.See this.

FWIW, the Martin gov't (and every sitting MP) was informed about what was happening in 2004. See this.

A couple of fine points: very few <20?) detainees were handed over before teh Kandahar deployment. Since then 100's have been handed over.

Since the Libs continue to call for a full inquiry and the Cons resist, it is apparent that the Cons see themselves most vulnerable on this file.

Torture is happening right this minute. Canada has the power to stop handing over detainees but we continue to do so knowing full well, as we have for years, that they face mistreatment.

Complicity in torture is the real crime. Prorogation is just the getaway car.


ridenrain said...

I guess that since McCallum let the cat out of the bag, it's a desperate scrabble to find someone else to blame.

Gayle said...


Yer funny RR.

Hey, did you know if you keep repeating the same lie over and over again it magically comes true?

silliopolous said...

What distinction is to be made?

An agreement between Afghanistan and the Canadian forces was signed by Rick Hillier on December 18th, 2005.

Negotiations may have started under the Liberals, but let us all remember that the non-confidence vote happened on November 28th, 2005 with Parliament dissolved the next day. So, at the time of the agreement and for almost three weeks of final negotiations prior to the signing, Canada was effectively without government.

That was Hillier's agreement. Not Paul Martin's, and I have seen no evidence provided anywhere that the agreement signed was vetted in final form by anyone from the Liberal Party.

double nickel said...

@JimBobby: I'm so stealing this!

"Complicity in torture is the real crime. Prorogation is just the getaway car."

JimBobby said...

@double nickel - Run with it.

Ti-Guy said...

A couple of fine points: very few <20?) detainees were handed over before teh Kandahar deployment. Since then 100's have been handed over.

Seems people have forgotten the extent to which this mission has "crept" over the years. Including the revelation, coming late to the Liberals as far I was concerned, that the Americans, the ultimate responsibility for detainees they probably assumed would be theirs at the outset (since it really is their battle), were directly implicated in torture...and still are, for that matter.

Tof KW said...

The Harper government has really screwed up on the Afghan detainee issue, and they in fact could have used this against past Liberal governments if they played it the right way. Regardless of Mr Colvin’s previous warnings being unheeded, once his testimony was heard they should have thanked him for his courage and began a formal inquiry as to what went wrong.

Whatever the government did or did not know in terms of torture allegations within Afghanistan’s prisons, they could have argued that bureaucracy between the foreign ministry and dept. of defence prevented the information from reaching the government, and thrown this back to the Martin government’s original agreement. It would drag out for months/years with little real damage to Harper. Then once the inquiry’s final recommendations were made they could admit serious mistakes were made, some junior officials would be fired, and a few key recommendations could be half-heartedly adopted.

But the problem was it is possible that this could result in a one or two point drop for Harper in the polls while the inquiry was being held. This does not help in his quest for the almighty majority.

So Harper’s brilliant solution?

- You stonewall the Military Police Complaints Commission inquiry & fire the chairman,

- Call Colvin a Taliban stooge; deny that the Red Cross, Amnesty International, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the Dutch and Americans all warned our officials about Afghanistan’s prison system,

- Sabotage a parliamentary committee hearing,

- Defy an order of Parliament, basically being in contempt of the highest court of the land,

- Prorogue Parliament and kill 37 pieces of legislation, all to scuttle the existing committee and thumb their collective noses at the Parliamentary Order.

This is beyond stupidity at this point. Has anyone from the Harper government stepped back and actually looked at how it has come to this?

And add on top of this a pathetic attempt to hide behind our brave soldiers and accuse the opposition of calling our troops torturers.

A real Prime Minister would know how to handle a situation like this, and Harper is clearly not qualified.

The only thing keeping him afloat for so long was a weak and ineffective Liberal opposition, who in a minority situation were not afforded a proper ‘time-out’ after the 2006 & 2008 election losses to rebuild their party. The Grits would be soaring in the polls right now if that had been allowed to occur, and his may yet happen depending on what transpires over the next few weeks.

Remember, it is never the actual transgression that gets you, it’s the cover-up.

Ti-Guy said...

Not helping the Torees in the the polls either.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has paid a large price in popularity for shutting down Parliament, with his Conservatives effectively tied with Liberals in a new poll by The Strategic Counsel.

Conservatives are at 31 per cent, compared to 30 per cent for Liberals, in the poll conducted by Strategic Counsel late last week, as controversy was starting to build over Harper's prorogation of Parliament until March 3.

Frankly, I'm surprised. I thought prorogation would really help the Harpies. Could it be that Canadians really are waking up?

Gayle said...

Not at all TG. It is all that "lib-luvin" media's fault.

bigcitylib said...

Guess Ezra didn't blither on long and foamily enough. Tomorrow's smear job will be twice as long.

Ti-Guy said...

Don't even say that, Gayle. They'll claim you're being serious and that it's, ergo, true: "Even the lib/lefty Gayle believes the media is biased against the Conservatives!"

Dr.Dawg said...

Since the Libs continue to call for a full inquiry and the Cons resist, it is apparent that the Cons see themselves most vulnerable on this file.

That's well said. Glavin's apology for the Tories really needs to be seen in this light.

Oxford County Liberals said...

Ignatieff has said in the H of C he has no trouble starting the inquiry timeline for detainees and transfers back at 2002, to look at how it evolved.

Gerrard787 said...

T of KW, Colvin said all soldiers who handed over Afghans were guilty of war crimes. Naturally that elicited a very strong response from the government.

Many Canadians also see the oppostion as carelessly impugning the reputation of all Canadian soldiers on this issue without proper restraint or evidence.

Saying war crimes occurred then demanding a public inquiry to determine if any of this evidence exists is not how our legal system does or should operate.

Unlike the judicial proceedings of the Somalia Inquiry which was based on hard evidence (and subsequently shut down by Chretien's misuse of prorogue), Colvin's assertions are based on innuendo and hearsay.

PM Harper's proroguing Parliament has been a mistake, and I think he realized that as soon as he called it.

On the other hand, the Liberal's blatant and constant abuse of prorogation over the decades leaves them with no moral authority on this issue.

It's time for both parties to grow up on this issue.

Ti-Guy said...

PM Harper's proroguing Parliament has been a mistake, and I think he realized that as soon as he called it.

This is a new one.

Gerrard787 said...

I've never been supportive of using prorogation for base, politcal ends. But I also don't see it as the end of democracy either.

In the interim, the opposition should go about gathering facts on the detainee issue. Unfortunately, we have persons such as Liberal MP John McCallum, who has never been to Afghanistan saying this about our soldiers:

". . . the fact that they may have been committing war crimes, handing over detainees knowing that they were very likely to be tortured, that is a war crime."

Based on which evidence John?

Ti-Guy said...

Based on which evidence John?

John McCallum isn't actually here, Paulie.

Unknown said...

That's pretty clever, Paul! Italicise fact, and pretend the word may has no meaning. why are you so desperate to hear soldiers accused of war crimes that you're willing to lie, Paul?
Do you really hate them that much?

Ti-Guy said...

I wonder if Paul Sunstrum is Richard Evans?

I did observe a while ago that Paul S. has commented here with a pseudonym associated with two Blogger accounts, something he couldn't explain.

ChrisInKW said...

Bring on the inquiry, says Ignatieff

Gerrard787 said...

Lenny, McCallum is the individual pretending to be clever. He slurs our military by giving himself weasel room to wiggle out of his slanders by employing the word "may".

McCallum also has, as of today, said it is not soldiers who are in fact (well, maybe)guilty of war crimes, but our government. Make sense of that.

Unless the McCallum has the required serious evidence necessary to make serious allegations, he should keep his sophistries to himself.

bigcitylib said...

Paul S.,

That's what McCallum says and that's presumably what he believes. Again, if you and the Harper gov. want to make the case that he's wrong, that our troops really are responsible for gov. fuckups, then go ahead. I hope you even make it an election issue.

Ti-Guy said...

I never knew Albertans were so militaristic. Had I, I would have supported engaging in more brutal wars and even supported a draft.

Send more of them into battle, by all means. People like Paul S. would croak before they finished basic.

Unknown said...

Alright Paulie, let's apply Occam's Razor.

McCallum inexplicably wishes to "slander" the troops, but wishes to do so in such a way that he can also deny that's he's doing so.


The Conservatives are trying to hide behind the military.

I think even the average bottom-left-of-the-bell-curve conservative can figure this one out.

Holly Stick said...

Paul S. wrote: "T of KW, Colvin said all soldiers who handed over Afghans were guilty of war crimes..."

That is a lie. Colvin did not say that. He specifically said he was making no accusations against the soldiers but was concerned [I forget the exact wording here] with the officials at the top who made the decisions.

Paul, you are a lying piece of shit.

Ti-Guy said...

That's really insulting to Paul, Holly.

He's worked very hard for people here to understand that he's whole sack of shit, not just a mere morsel.

Gerrard787 said...

BCL, I am unclear on what McCallum believes. He says it is a fact that may be true. What does that mean? More importantly, other then innuendo, what evidence does he offer? Photos? Statements? Confessions? Anything?

Please, offer me something other then Richard Colvin's second-hand recounting of conversations with unnamed persons employed by unnamed organizations.

Holly Stick, handing over detainees to face torture is a war crime in and of itself regardless of orders from superiors, so yes, Colvin did implicate Canadian soldiers as particpating in war crimes.

Unknown said...

"He says it is a fact that may be true."

No he doesn't. You quoted him yourself:

"...the fact that they may have been committing war crimes..."

Are you autistic or something?

Gerrard787 said...

Same difference Lenny. McCallum is casting aspersions and denigrating our soldiers. He should man up and say so.

Unknown said...

Definitely, some kind of cognitive disability, but you'd need a professional to make specific diagnosis.

But at least you've got a sense of humour. The coward who's hiding behind the soldiers and pushing them forward to bear any accusations of war crimes telling someone else to "man up". That's hilarious!

Ti-Guy said...

Please, offer me something other then Richard Colvin's

Your spelling used to be better than this, when you used your older Blogger account when you commented...

Gerrard787 said...

Give us the names of the soldiers who committed the war crimes Lenny. Colvin stated all our soldiers who handed over detainees were handing them over to torture.

Like I said, man up with some names. There should be thousands of our soldiers names you can come up with.

Unknown said...

"Give us the names of the soldiers who committed the war crimes Lenny."

It's only you and your cowardly Con bretheren that are determined to stick soldiers with the war crimes label, even to the point of lying about what McCallum said in order to do so.

Holly Stick said...

Paul S, Man up with a real citation proving that Colvin ever said this: "Colvin stated all our soldiers who handed over detainees were handing them over to torture."

You lying morsel of shit.