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Monday, September 14, 2009

Tories withhold Afghan mission cost citing national security concerns

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Stephen Harper's Conservative Party, which has always won it's governing mandate on promises of government accountability and fiscal responsibility, has now decided to no longer disclose the costs of Canada's military to taxpayers:

In a significant policy shift, the Canadian government now believes that telling the country's taxpayers the future cost of the war in Afghanistan would be a threat to national security, Canwest News Service has learned.

The Defence Department cited a national security exemption when it censored a request under the Access to Information Act by the federal NDP for the military costs of Canada's military participation in the NATO-led, United Nations-sanctioned military mission to Afghanistan.

When the NDP asked for the identical figures last year, the military made them public. was able to disclose in April 2008 that the yearly incremental cost of the Afghan war would top $1-billion for the first time since Canada's military became involved in Afghanistan in 2002.

But this year, military censors cited Section 15 of the act in blocking out the figure.

In a June 3 letter to an NDP researcher, Julie Jansen, the director of the military's access branch, cited "the defence of Canada or any state allied" with it in justifying the withholding of the figures for the three next fiscal years.

Section 15 of the act allows the withholding of any "information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs, the defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada or the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities."

Ms. Jansen also invoked a Section 21 exemption, which gives a government department the discretionary power to disclose records that include negotiationplans, deliberations or consultations, or "administrative plans that have not yet been put into operation."

In an identical request last year, the Defence Department released the estimates for the fiscal years leading up to 2011, the year that Parliament and the government has said Canada's current military mission in Afghanistan must end.

"In the face of more public interest in the ongoing cost of the war, it is surprising the DND would now take the attitude that now is the time that we will start pulling back on information and not be as transparent as before," NDP defence critic Jack Harris said.

Military commanders commonly cite the need to withhold information in order not to give an edge to the Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgency, which has gained strength in the Kandahar region in the past three years, driving up the Canadian Forces death toll to 120. Usually, the information blackouts cover the exact numbers of troops, tanks and other military assets. Any mention of future military operations is deemed strictly off limits, and embedded journalists who cover the war in Kandahar sign a waiver agreeing not to publish such information in advance when they learn of it.

The military's new secrecy comes after the financial cost of the mission became a major issue for several days during last fall's federal election campaign.

Read the rest.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on September 14, 2009 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


With holding information for "our own good" has gotten out of hand. Conservative Government, my ASS!

These people are not only not conservative, they're becoming downright evil.

Canadians need to take a shot at Bill C-6. Mandatory vaccinations and warrantless search and seizure are on the way...so gun confiscation will surely follow if they are to actually carry this out.

Constitutional lawyer Shawn Buckley on Bill C-6 ...
WATCH Part1:
WATCH Part2:

Unbelievably evil in its intent. Call your MP and let them know...that you know.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-09-15 5:53:04 AM

Looks like the Liebral/NDP/Green party is concerned that their main political base, southern Ontario, will lose jobs when the war ends. Whatever happened to the days of Tommy Douglas who stood up to Pierre the Terrible and his invasion of Quebec? Long gone, I'm afraid.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-09-15 6:57:01 AM

Shirley, with Minority Leader Harper, his cabal of CRAP'ers seconded by Kow -Tower Ignatieff, jailing thousands more of non violent Canadians(Bill C-15) each year will leave more $$ for the Afghanistan mission?

What does Minority Leader Harper's Fashionista/Psychic think?

Ooohhh, the Rapture.

Posted by: jeff franklin | 2009-09-15 9:48:30 AM

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