The Throne Speech and 2010 Budget were delivered setting the government’s course for the next year and beyond. To my amazement the opposition parties have asked only a few questions on the budget and Throne Speech. They seem to be locked into the Afghan detainee issue. I would like to highlight the budget, and will at a later date, but first I want to set the record straight regarding the Canadian Forces protocol for transfer of Afghan detainees.
When the former Liberal government committed to send Canadian Forces, as part of a UN joint mission, there was in place a loose protocol for the transferring of Afghan prisoners. Soon after our government was elected and overseeing the work being accomplished in Afghanistan there was one incident where a Canadian Forces patrol, after turning over a prisoner to the Afghan authorities, witnessed as they were leaving, a prisoner being beaten. They returned to the Afghan authorities and took the prisoner back to protect him. This incident sparked a decision to draft a new protocol for the transfer of Afghan prisoners. Also our government committed to funding upgrades and better training of personnel at the prisons. These actions were implemented in 2007. Since then, there has not been an identified incident of torture of any Afghan transferees. One must realize that the Canadian Forces actions are guided by international laws and protocol and they take their responsibilities seriously.
The opposition is attempting to somehow connect the dots to the Prime Minister’s office by suggesting they knew of detainees being tortured and did nothing to address the issue. These accusations are false. These allegations really suggest that the Canadian Forces and Department of National Defence were part and parcel to war crimes. We should be supporting our men and women in uniform and this nonsense that is taking place on the floor of the House of Commons should stop.
I believe, the issues that Canadians want discussed on the floor of the House of Commons are the issues we are addressing through our Economic Action Plan, that is, completing our stimulus spending to create jobs, building new infrastructures, and beginning the task of eliminating the deficit.
I am embarrassed to report these actions by the opposition parties happening in ‘YOUR Parliament’ because it undermines the confidence citizens have in their government. Regardless of one’s opinions of the Afghan mission we need to support the men and women of the Canadian Forces because they are there to do the job they are trained to do. They didn’t make the decision to be or not to be in Afghanistan. The previous and the current government made that decision.
I like the bumper sticker that says “If you don’t stand behind the Canadian Forces as they stand for Law, Order and Freedom, then try standing in front of them.”
MP Colin Mayes, Okanagan-Shuswap