Friday, April 27, 2007

Man's on a Tear

Everybody with only the faintest knowledge of Canadian poliics knows that Paul Wells never really liked Paul Martin much. Not going to get into the reasons, but one of the things that seemed to come out of it was that he had at least a grudging respect, if not some level of affection, for the man who replaced him.

It would appear that's over. Now (to his credit) he sounds like Spider Jerusalem going after the Smiler.

Read up:

2. There is no torture report. OK, here's the torture report.

I am still in mood swings about its new design, but the Globe and Mail's three-day winning streak on the Afghanistan story demonstrates the reporting strength only that paper can consistently muster -- when it decides it should. Its rollout of the story has been almost clinically efficient. On Monday it revealed serious allegations of torture of Afghan prisoners
captured by Canadian soldiers and turned over to Afghan prisons. The prime minister responded that nobody can trust the claims of Afghan, largely Taliban, prisoners. All right then: on Tuesday the Globe revealed that there is no way to independently check the claims because the
independent "watchdog" group on site is not allowed to watch.

Today Paul Koring reveals that the government was told, by its own officials, to expect all this; that
it lied when first asked, insisting in writing that "no such report on human-rights performance in other countries exists;" and that it then released a heavily redacted version of the report, whose deletions cannot be explained under federal Access to Information law.

This should become an urgent and extraordinary case for Canada's formidable new Information Commissioner, who will know better than most that he answers to
Parliament, not to a government that attempted a clumsy end run around the law he defends.

The rest of us need to understand: This government lies to us without compunction or apology about the most important files a government can be asked to handle.
That last part was legitimately fierce. Kudos.

So, yeah, I think he's off the Harpers' christmas card list, and I imagine Ken Whyte ain't so pleased either, water-carrier that he at least was for the Harper gang. He also looked into the question of whether the Tories were leaking information to friends that could affect the securities market. (oops!)I agree with his argument that the more important story is the Afghani detainee story.

Thing is, it really is starting to look like Harper's going down the Bush pathway. Not only the behavior and the denials, but the excuses. I can't recall where I saw it quoted, but I remember Harper (or O'Connor) saying that accusations are "irresponsible" because they'd harm the soldiers in the field. That's code: what's really being said is that critics are being unpatriotic and aren't "supporting the troops".

Traitors, essentially.

Harper should look carefully at the fate of the Bush administration before going down that road. Still, it's nice to see that if he does, Wells will be on it.

(Would have been nice if Whatzisname had been.)

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