In the autumn of 2008, the Canadian public was subjected to a litany of half-truths, prevarication and downright lies from those who tried desperately to convince us that the Liberal-NDP coalition, backed by the Bloc, was anything but a cynical left-wing political conspiracy to grab power from the legally elected Conservative government.
During that period, the mendacity of former Liberal cabinet ministers like Scott Brison, Ralph Goodale and John McCallum was enough to induce nausea.
Then in April 2009, we found that Liberal finance critic, John McCallum, was such a stranger to the truth that he even lied about the sort of car he drove. The ex-banker told reporters that he drove a North American car, a statement he later recanted in a telephone call to a newspaper and confirmed in an e-mail.
Despite his tendency to play fast and loose with the truth, the mainstream media still likes to have McCallum on their TV shows. And he wasn’t on CBC News long yesterday before he had strongly implied that Canadian soldiers were committing war crimes. Here is part of his exchange with CBC host Suhana Meharchand:
“… and I think proroguing adds to the total character picture of Mr. Harper, and the fact that they may have been committing war crimes, handing over detainees knowing that they were very likely to be tortured, that is a war crime.”
Meharchand let him off the hook by not challenging his clarification that he meant that it was the government that was doing the handing-over, which, of course, was absurd.
The cold hard facts are that the Canadian military are the ones under fire in Afghanistan, and it is the military who capture the enemy and pass them over to the Afghanistan authorities. Under what tortured logic can they be absolved of guilt if, in fact, the Liberals are correct in their accusations that Canadian authorities handed over detainees to the Afghanis knowing they were liable to be tortured?
McCallum is a smart man, perhaps even a brilliant one. It is not conceivable that he does not understand the absurd contradiction of, on the one hand, accusing the government of being complicit in a war crime and, on the other, absolving the military of any criticism.
I also believe McCallum is clever enough to recognize the serious damage charges of war crimes must be doing to the morale of our men and women serving in Afghanistan.
That he would make such a statement on nationwide television is further evidence of the disdain in which the Canadian military is held by members of the Liberal caucus. This is the same Liberal Party that financially gutted our armed forces for decades, yet callously sent them off to foreign lands undermanned and underequipped.
It seems clear to me that when Michael Ignatieff cleaned house and fired most of his backroom staff he missed the boat by not re-jigging his shadow cabinet. So long as he continues to surround himself with the lies of Scott Brison, Ralph Goodale and John McCallum he’s not likely to capture the trust of the Canadian public.
UPDATE: For even more damning evidence of the depth and breadth of John McCallum’s hypocrisy, see Unambiguously Ambidextrous’ post, Torture. The Liberals Knew.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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