Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Despite Cheryl Gallant's Insanity There is Going to Be a Public Inquiry on Torture Allegations ... Maybe.

I was very angry last night after reading Cheryl Gallant's comments about a public inquiry into torture allegations. I couldn't believe that anyone could be so callous, suggesting that Jack Layton was responsible for the death of a soldier because he dared to question our role in Afghanistan. She sunk to a new low, though she really wasn't doing anything different than her boss I suppose; hiding behind our men and women in uniform to save their own reputation.

This whole thing just makes me so incredibly sad, and while I pushed for a public inquiry, to avoid having this story play out at the Hague; I'm not looking forward to the campaign that the Ref-Cons will run now. If Gallant's comments are any indication, this is going to get real ugly fast.

I think it's time to get out. Our troops are still over there and Harper's handling of this sordid affair is only going to put them in more danger. The Afghan people know of the torture, and to hear our government call them liars, will only inflame their anger and distrust.

If the Reformers can't stand up for the troops, by taking this seriously and doing the honourable thing, than Canadians have to demand that they are returned us. Everything they thought they were fighting for, is no longer valid. They were not promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Or at least that will be a tough sell now to those they were trying to protect.

So if anyone is helping the Taliban, it's our government, by destroying the integrity of our soldiers to save themselves. What a legacy.

House of Commons demands torture inquiry
Campbell Clark
Ottawa — The Globe and Mail
December 01, 2009

Opposition MPs have passed a motion in the House of Commons calling on the government to launch a public inquiry into the handling of detainees in Afghanistan.

Defence Minister Peter Mackay appeared in the Commons Wednesday morning to dismiss an inquiry as politically-motivated and unnecessary, but MPs from the three opposition parties, angry at the government's censoring of documents on the issue, appear set to press ahead.

“We're looking at what needs to be established in terms of what happened,” New Democrat MP Paul Dewar, who sponsored the motion, said during today's debate. “Is there any other option than a public inquiry in light of the fact that we have a government that refused to dispense all the documents?”

Even though the Commons passed the motion by a vote of 146 to 129, it cannot force the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to launch the inquiry since that is a decision that rests with the executive branch of government. But it does increase pressure on the Conservative minority, which would then be forced to decide if it will reject the will of the Parliament.

MPs from all three opposition parties expressed support for the motion, with many citing the government's refusal to release information.

Diplomat Richard Colvin sparked a political explosion two weeks ago when he testified that the government ignored his repeated warnings that detainees taken by Canadian soldiers and transferred to Afghan jails faced abuse and torture in Afghan hands.

MPs looking into the matter have demanded copies of reports and records on the issues, including Mr. Colvin's reports from Afghanistan, where he was political counsellor at Canada's Kabul embassy in 2006 and 2007.

And they have been annoyed that retired generals and officials have been allowed access to the documents before they testified at the committee, while MPs have been refused access, or obtained only heavily-censored versions.

“We've been prevented from doing our work, quite simply,” said Bloc Québécois MP Claude Bachand.

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