Let’s see, if I had to guess, what will the House of Commons Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan be focusing on (and drawing the public eye to) now?
The U.S. government will ask Canada to keep as many as 500 to 600 troops in Afghanistan after this country’s military deployment in Kandahar ends in 2011.
Sources inside and outside the government say the formal request is expected toward the end of this year through NATO. The troops would act as military trainers and would most likely be located in Kabul. The deployment would not involve putting Canadian troops in harm’s way, but could nonetheless set off a rancorous national debate among Canadians and especially within the Liberal Party.
No specific request has been raised in meetings between Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Defence Minister Peter MacKay. But officials in the departments of State and Defence have advised their Canadian counterparts that an “ask” is coming …. (Globe & Mail, 25 Mar 10)
Facing the risk of a ruling saying it’s broken fundamental parliamentary rules, the Harper government has relented and released 2,500 pages of documents on the Afghan detainee controversy.
The catch, however, is the reports, briefings and memos are heavily censored. Opposition parties and journalists have yet to discern if there is anything to be gleaned from them because the government failed to make copies before tabling the papers in Parliament …. Tom Lukiwksi, parliamentary secretary to Government House Leader Jay Hill, couldn’t resist taking a swipe at opposition parties as he tabled the documents in the Commons today.
“Given that the opposition seemingly believes that the treatment of Taliban prisoners is a top priority for Canadians, and given the high volume of documents, we are asking for unanimous consent to table related documents,” Mr. Lukiwski said.
The Conservatives say today’s surprise document dump documents does not represent its formal response to a House of Commons order to produce all relevant material on the detainee controversy. They say Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is expected to formally respond to the Commons order next week ….” (Globe & Mail, 25 Mar 10)
Update (1): I guessed right.