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  • November 17th, 2015

Trudeau must have the courage of his convictions

trudeau-speaks-from-rideau-hall

Despite Paris’ misery, Trudeau mustn’t fall into Harper’s old traps (Michael Harris, iPolitics, 15 November 2015).

In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, the Canadian neocons are out in full force, baying for Prime Minister Trudeau to renege on his promise to withdraw Canada from the bombing mission in Iraq and Syria. But Trudeau made this decision not because he discounted the threat that the Islamic State poses, but in the belief that there is a better, more effective role for Canada.

In place of the bombs, Trudeau offered three other ways Canada could contribute to the coalition effort: take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by year’s end; increase humanitarian aid to those displaced by the bitter civil war; and to train Kurds in Northern Iraq so that they could defeat the terrorists who have annexed other peoples’ lands to create their self-declared caliphate.

Michael Harris also examines a second challenge to the new government’s agenda, in particular its welcome commitment to open government – the call for a public inquiry in a recent report on Canada’s alleged complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees:

Why are the folks over at the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives asking for a public inquiry into this issue? For starters, because it has never been resolved. Despite the parliamentary testimony of diplomat Richard Colvin, the Harper government smothered every investigation into whether Canadian forces had committed war crimes by turning detainees over to Afghan authorities who then tortured them. Only 4,000 out of 40,000 documents Harper was ordered to hand over by the Speaker of the House of Commons were ever produced. That is called unfinished business.

But there is another reason. The Military Police Complaints Commission is investigating a new case to determine if Canadian soldiers abused and terrorized detainees at their Kandahar base. Accordingly, the Rideau Institute is asking for a judicial commission of inquiry into the detainee affair “into the actions of Canadian officials, including ministers of the crown…” The head of the Rideau Institute, Peggy Mason, a former UN diplomat, says that if Justin Trudeau is truly committed to transparency and accountability, this is the file to prove it on.

For the full article, click on: Despite Paris’ misery, Trudeau mustn’t fall into Harper’s old traps (Michael Harris, iPolitics, 15 November, 2015).

And for more discussion on Canada’s intended withdrawal from the anti-Islamic State bombing mission, listen to Peggy Mason and Tony Battista debating the issue on CBC Ottawa Morning. Click on Air strikes Against ISIS? (CBC Ottawa Morning, 16 November 2015).

Photo credit: ShawGlobalNews

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