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Friday, January 01, 2010

Has Harper Finally Gone Too Far for Canadians in Ducking the Afghan Detainee Torture Issue?

Far and Wide: Smug
I have been mulling over what to say about the move by Prime Minister Harper to prorouge Parliament. Reading the points and comment of one of my favourite bloggers, Far and Wide, on the subject covers much of my concern.

The real reason our Prime Minister is prorouging Parliament is as yet unknown. We know the Conservative spin cycle justification but that is far from and wide of the truth (Sorry Steve, couldn't resist.) It is clearly a tactical action to delay accountability and further discovery of the facts around what the Harper government's role in the torture of Afghan detainees.

The clear deceit and denial that permeates throughout the politcial culture of the Harper government is well known and documented in so many areas be it denial of the recession to being forced into admitting it and doing stimulus investing, but still on a partisan preferential basis is one. The culture of denial about the science of climate change and the missing inaction policy position on GHGs and Copenhagen. The phony trip to Cop15 in Copenhagen by our Prime Minister Harper only because other world leaders were engaged and attending made it imperaive that he go, only to stay in his hotel rooms for a few days living off room service so he could not be asked questions.

The Harper government's indifference to the need to protect the human rights of Canadian citizens abroad like less than tepid response to the plight of the Alberta freelance journalist held hostage in Somalia.  She was actually freed by her family and other citizens, some from other countries, I believe. The ultimate indifference to the human rights plight of a Canadian being held in a foreign prison is Omar Khadr the Canadian child soldier held in Gitmo for over 7 years without trial and in the face of numerous court decisions saying he should be repatriated and face Canadian justice.

Now we likely have a concern that may go right through the power structure in the Harper goverment around the political and policy role of our government in the handling of Afghan detainees and turning them over to be tourtured. The backpedaling on the facts by the Harper government is astonishing. The smoking guns on this one are everywhere, including the feeble attempts by Harper's partisan political power structure to discredit the diplomat who was sending warnings and written concerns. All of which were ignored and he was admonished for putting them on the record by his "superiors.".

The Commons Committee dealing with the concerns was starting to make serious progress at getting to the facts on detainee torture. It is my belief that they were about to uncover some other serious breaches by the Harper government around the handling of the Afghan detainee file. Harper does not want that discovered nor discussed so the easiest way is to defer and delay the working of the Committee. To avoid any such accountability, openness and responsibility, Harper shut down Parliament. He hopes Canadians will tradeoff this breach of Canadian values in enchange for hosting the Olympics? Harper's hubris and indifference to democracy allows him to kill 30 Bills in process and all of his much touted law and order agenda. He must be very afraid of what the Commons Committee was about to discover to sacrifice the law and order policy agenda that was needed to secure his right-wing political base.

Is this mostly about our Prime Minister's cowardice, indifference to democracy or something even more perverse like his pursuit of personal rule through authoritarianism? I think it is all of that and more. Canadians better wake up and resist and insist on at least good government. Peace and order already seem to be beyond the Harper regime. I think Prime Minister Harper is proving yet again that he is good at raw power politics and tactics but indifferent to and incapable of good governing. It is time for him to go. If Conservatives don't dump him soon, Canadians will dump him and many other Conservative politicians in the next election.