Saturday, March 1, 2008

Gone Two Days and So Much Changes: On Cadman and Afghanistan

What a week in Canadian in politics! I have to say first of all, I am glad to see so many Liberals who were upset about the budget response back focused on the horrible Tory government we have.

So of course EVERYONE has given their thoughts on the Cadman affair, but this is too big not to pile on with my thoughts, though I also wanted to talk about something I haven't read much about on the Liberal blogs involving Afghanistan.

First of all though the Cadman scandal. For those who don't think this is a big deal, when was the last time that we have been talking about the PMO possibly authorizing breaking the law? If in fact Harper or Doug Finley authorized offering Cadman financial incentives for voting a certain way (whether that be a $1 milllion loan or a $1 million life insurance policy) as I understand it is breaking the law.

So the RCMP must investigate this and while the NDP think this issue doesn't matter, the Liberals have to keep up the heat. I think we need to wait a bit yet to see if we should hold on an election on this issue, but if Harper's stories keep changing this week and they continue

I still think we can win a Spring election, but I think it's not so bad to let this affair play out another month or so so we can have more answers and then voting No Confidence in this terrible government. When we go on our own No Confidence motion in a month or two then we can frame the election how we want. As well, the budget still wouldn't pass (if memory serves me budgets aren't usually up for third reading until April or May and then of course still have to clear the Senate) so for those who believed strongly the Liberals needed to stop it, it would be stopped.

But this is big and it seems so far the only Tory defense is that the Cadman family are all pathological liars! Tell me Tories, what reason do everyone of Cadman's relatives have to lie about this? And what reason do the Conservatives have to lie about it?

You might say the offer of life insurance is implausible, but maybe they just meant "life insurance" (as in Cadman would in some way be compensated for the loss of his parliamentary plan to the equivalent of $1 million) . Again you can't attack this story without calling the Cadman family liars and so far Harper has refused to do so, so maybe he just happens to know they are right. Dance around it all you want but those are the facts of the story so far.

There's enough evidence from Cadman's own words in different interviews and Harper's own words that point to financial offers being made. We don't know for sure yet if the law was broken, but if the RCMP don't investigate that would be wrong.

So then there was another issue this week that I would have liked to have seen much more coverage on it. Scott Tribe talked about it, but I don't remember seeing it on any other Liberal blogs, but I think it's very important nonetheless. So it seems Afghan prisoner transfers have resumed. The issue of prisoners Canadians have handed over being tortured was a huge issue in the past and I am disappointed this issue has been drowned out by the Cadman scandal.

The Liberals have been strong defenders of human rights in the past and were very forceful in keeping on this issue in the past, I just hope they don't let this one slip. There was clear evidence priosoners were tortured in the past. It was bad enough that the Tories even admitted to it and had transfers stopped. So what's changed? Apparently not all that much, so we need to keep their feet to the fire on this.

This is a fundamental human rights issue that the Tories have badly handled and they don't seem to care if Canada is violating international law. They need to be put on the spot over this and the Liberals need to be asking more questions. We also need a clear solution for how to handle this prisoners in the future.

I also agree with Scott that Amnesty and the BC Civil Liberties group should go back to court on this issue. The lawsuit stopped because prisoner transfers stopped, I think the onus is now on the Harper to explain why they have resumed and Liberals ought to do all they can to assure we get answers and that Harper is held to account on his shameful handling of this whole saga.

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