Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Laurie Hawn’s War

My rage is reserved for Rick Casson, who should know better.

Rick Casson, M.P. - 'Your Voice in Ottawa'
From small town mayor to a five term Member of Parliament after being convincingly re-elected to office on October 14, 2008 Rick Casson continues to work diligently for the riding of Lethbridge, a federal electoral district comprised of approximately 106,000 southern Alberta residents.
After registering over 66 percent of the vote in October 2008, Rick once again joined the Government in the House of Commons for the 1st Session of the 40th Parliament. Shortly after he was named Chair of the Alberta Caucus, the Canadian Chair of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence and Chair of the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan.
On a note of interest: the Permanent Joint Board on Defence is a Canadian-American advisory body established at Ogdensburg, NY, 18 August 1940, by PM Mackenzie King and US President F.D. Roosevelt. This meeting, which took place at Roosevelt's suggestion, was called during a period of crisis in WORLD WAR II. Although now only one of a number of agencies for Canadian-American military co-operation today, it continues as an arena for frank and informal exchange of views and information.

My respect for Rick just went through the floor, this is Rick Casson from Lethbridge and not Rick Hillier, roving ambassador for the TD Bank, former Chief of the Defence Staff, architect of Canada’s disastrous military policy in Afghanistan, and blowhard who appeared before the Special Parliamentary Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan – Rick Casson’s committee – to state that Richard Colvin’s testimony was “ludicrous”. I had thought Rick Casson was a decent guy, until today, when without prior notice, he “Didn’t Show Up For Work.” He’s the Chair of the Committee, a meeting was called, and he…just…didn’t…show…up.

How professional is that? Parliament has before it a motion, passed, that the government produce documents, and the guy in charge of the committee that made the motion…just…doesn’t…show…up…for…work. Nice. It’s not like Rick Casson hasn’t been around and doesn’t know the rules.

So now we come to the guy who’s making the noise, Laurie Hawn, The Weasel’s Pit Bull, trying to blow off the Afghan prisoner issue like it’s a distraction from the main events of our time…like…Christmas…or…Copenhagen (no, bummer)…or the Olympics! This is just not a good time to bring up war crimes with the Canadian public who, in any case, should “get real”.

When would be a good time to bring up a discussion of Canadian compliance with international humanitarian law, and, in particular, the Third Geneva Convention, and in particular, Article 12:

Art 12. Prisoners of war are in the hands of the enemy Power, but not of the individuals or military units who have captured them. Irrespective of the individual responsibilities that may exist, the Detaining Power is responsible for the treatment given them.

Prisoners of war may only be transferred by the Detaining Power to a Power which is a party to the Convention and after the Detaining Power has satisfied itself of the willingness and ability of such transferee Power to apply the Convention. When prisoners of war are transferred under such circumstances, responsibility for the application of the Convention rests on the Power accepting them while they are in its custody.

Nevertheless, if that Power fails to carry out the provisions of the Convention in any important respect, the Power by whom the prisoners of war were transferred shall, upon being notified by the Protecting Power, take effective measures to correct the situation or shall request the return of the prisoners of war. Such requests must be complied with.

How about "never", Laurie? Does “never” work for you?

Laurie says the Committee could have met by teleconference. Right. As a lawyer friend of mine says about cross-examination in writing, it’s like sending your neighbour a letter saying “Dear Sir. Your dog is irritating me. Please kick your dog. Yours sincerely.” Like, the Minister of National Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff are going to be beamed into his committee to be ineffectively scrogged by committee members who may be sitting by the hearth fire cracking chestnuts. I can hear them sweating: “zzzzz”.

Luckily, we have the Governor-General, who may be the main obstacle to a police state.