The Afghani detainee issue gets more heated by the day. There is a slow drip, memos being given to the media etc., and in my opinion, this is happening because the government is insisting on being so secretive.
I think if they had acquiesced to the opposition and given them access to the documents in question, this all could have been avoided.
Let's start with the issue of framing. Time and time again, we are told by pollsters and talking heads that Canadians don't care about the issue. Specifically, they don't really care about prisoners who may have harmed or killed our military. That may be true, but isn't that a ridiculous frame or in the case of pollsters, a ridiculous question to ask? Wouldn't it make more sense to ask what Canadians feel about Canada's reputation in the world and the potential that we could be contravening the Geneva Convention and our own laws? I suspect we'd get a different response and a real sense of concern if the right question was asked.
Over the past couple of days, we have learned that the government knew more than they have let on, thus far. Indeed, they have said they had no 'credible' information of anything untoward. That we know is false, based on leaked documents.
As I mentioned earlier, I really think much of this speculation and sensationalism could have been avoided. Now, by that I do not mean that the issue would have gone away, but with information being leaked from the MPCC hearings this week and the slow leak of doc's, no one, including the government, is being given any favours.
Kory Teneycke, former Comm's director for the PMO, presented his own framing tonight on CBC, which in my opinion, falls pretty close to the current talking points issued by the government. He began by suggesting that the new revelations were much to do about nothing, then said that they have now moved the discussion to an esoteric level, meaning I suppose that few of us understand the reality of being in Afghanistan and the day to day of war. On one hand, he is right, but in the grander scheme, his argument is one that I take issue with. It's the oft used, black/white argument that is put forward by the Conservatives that really doesn't exist in the world. Yes, there is indeed grey in the world we live in.
What really exists and what can be balanced are our obligations in concert with the realities of the immediacy of war. I'm certain Kory did not mean to imply this, but his argument made the case for allowing torture, because you know what? We may just learn valuable information for our troops and what are we supposed to do? Ignore that? Compelling? Nah, simplistic.
No, we are supposed to prevent that in the first place, use interrogation techniques that work and don't contravene our laws or the Geneva Convention and move forward.
The framing of this issue has been so twisted, it's difficult to recognise it for what it is. The media are now dogged in their pursuit of uncovering what the government has been obvious in hiding, (don't scream, that's their job), it's inevitable that it won't end well. It didn't have to come to this.
I'm not sure this is possible, but if a sincere move was made to change the structure of the House committee, meaning, they could run meetings for extended periods of time, were not limited to ridiculous 5 minute rounds and obviously were sworn in, so as not to breach any security but had the same access the witnesses had to documents, that would go a long way.
As it stands, the government is digging itself into a deeper hole with every day that passes. I can't say I'm sorry to see that, but in the end, I just don't think it's good for Canada.
There is framing an issue, then there is framing yourself in.