Thursday, April 26, 2007

Stockwell Day's little smokescreen isn't quite a lie, but it's not really the truth either

Confused? You should be. The Harper government constantly moving around the playing field with the ball under its arm trying to find centre field is enough to get your head spinning. First there was an agreement, then there is an agreement with the governor of Kandahar, then there is an agreement with the NDC (Afghan intelligence police), then there is no agreement but there will be and today, there are plans to formalize an agreement on prisoner transfers.

And while all of this is coming out in the House of Commons, Steve Harper is throwing a temper tantrum and accusing anyone and everyone who criticizes his government's policy on prisoners captured in combat as picking on the military. Either Steve thinks he is a part of the military or he is just too stupid to understand the question.

I can't say any more than Impolitical did in this post on the unbelievable and incompetent juggling act performed by Harper today.

But there's more. Stockwell Day entered the fray by suggesting that Canadian Corrections Officers have had access all along.
For a considerable period of time now, our own Corrections Service here in Canada has had corrections officers working in Kandahar. Matter of fact, I talked with one of them two days ago, Mr. Speaker. Fifteen times already she has had access to the prison facility in Kandahar, has full access. Also did a visit yesterday to the detention facility. Improvements are being made. It's difficult. It's moving, but it's difficult. Improvements are being made.
Right! And not one member of the opposition jumped on that. Not one!

Of course Corrections Canada has Corrections officers in Kandahar, and elsewhere in Afghanistan. They are a part of the development and training program which is being sponsored by the Canadian government.

Read again what Day actually said. He didn't say the Corrections officers had access to transfered detainees. Want to know why not? Because they don't.

What Day said was that Corrections officers have access to the facilities. In fact, the Corrections officers assigned to Afghanistan are a part of a training and mentoring program and they have no access at all to detainees transfered by Canadian Forces to Afghanistan. The Corrections officers are there to help develop the Afghan prison system under UNAMA - not to monitor treatment of PWs.

Stockwell Day put up a dishonest smokescreen. His words were probably true enough, (Well, maybe. There's another point to be made.), but they were placed in the exchange at a time when they were intended to be construed as meaning that Canadian Corrections officers were monitoring, and had been monitoring, PW treatment.

Day, I can guarantee you, if confronted with this, will tell you he meant no such thing. But then there is the question of when he spoke to the Corrections officer. He started out by saying he had spoken to her "two days ago". Then he said she had visited a detention centre yesterday. But he spoke to her they day before that visit. So, either he doesn't know when he spoke to her, got the information from a daily situation report or is using his crystal ball. However he got it, he made it sound like he learned it from her directly.

Day has a reputation for developing cute little scenarios in his mind and then blowing sunshine up peoples' asses. This one should have seen him ripped to shreds. He should have been called on it.

Taken with everything else the Conservatives tried to grab onto today, this dishonest little bit from Stockwell Day serves only to confirm that the Harper crowd have no idea what they're doing and are now grasping at straws in an attempt to end the assault.

A bit of advice for Harper, O'Connor, Day and MacKay. Do what criminals do. Everyone get your story straight before the questioning starts.

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