Monday, June 22, 2009

If a democracy falls in the summer, does anybody hear it?

I find it fascinating that this little item surfaces just two days after Parliament goes on summer break:

Tories withhold future war costs, citing national security concerns

OTTAWA — 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 Access to Information by the federal NDP for the military costs of Canada’s military participation in the NATO-led, United Nations-sanctioned military mission to Afghanistan.

Funny that the costs of the war weren't a security concern last year. Does that mean that the lives of our troops were put a risk when the military released the exact same figures last April? Do we get to extrapolate that now to make the actual budget for the war a military secret? How about our military budget in general? After all, we wouldn't want to tip our hand to The Enemy about how many trucks and tanks we're planning to buy.

And who is going to scream over this? Our Loyal Opposition, such as it is, is on vacation until September, and the media aren't going to be wasting any breath on this sort of thing when they have summer reality shows to shill to their semi-comatose audience.

The only ones raising the alarm about this and other danger signs seem to be James Travers and The Star. I'm just not convinced there's anybody listening.


  1. well you obviously are. This is a moot issue in my mind. Can't you just go back and look at the predictions of the previous budget to determine how much is being spent. Beyond this, I agree that the justification is weak, but it seems that the Cons aren't looking for a storm of controversy over this. Everybody wants to go to the beach instead of talk about military budgets. Sadly.

  2. Is anyone even listening? Not our MPs even when they are in session, not most of the public who seem totally unconcerned, but for a few like Mr Travers not the MSM. Each day more information is hidden from the public (or our representatives no matter which party they belong to) or made more difficult to obtain is one more step towards an Oligarchy. We can only hope that the PBO will be asked to report on this by some parliamentarian who then has the guts to publish it, for it seems that he can no longer do so if he wishes to have sufficient funds to do his job.
    Bloggers (at least progressive bloggers) seem to be the only ones with an ear to the ground on this one.

  3. Is this the first time this particular obfuscation tactic has been floated in Canada? It seems to me I've heard all sorts of justification for withholding such information south of the border, but I'm too new to political awareness in our own country to recall much beyond a few years ago and what's recorded for posterity on the interwebs.

    For what it's worth, I only came to this political awareness when I became desperately alarmed at Bush, then noticed how Harper's basically photocopying crib notes off the right-wing authoritarians of the rest of the world, Bush included.

  4. Amazing. Thanks for the post. You just have to scratch your head and wonder how it's gone so far. some people say 'well, imagine if these guys had a majority'. It seems to me that they're doing pretty good as it is. Meanwhile the others (except the Bloc) seem to be just standing around posturing and looking at the polls. Stevie's having an amazingly easy time of it.

  5. Summer appears to be the only time Parliament is non-disfunctional.