The Harper government doesn't like to release information -- on Afghan prisoners, on the cost of fighter jets, on budget cuts. It has now applied the same strategy to Canada's involvement in Mali. Tom Walkom reports:
But then everything about Canada’s role in Mali is treated by Ottawa as a state secret. Canadians learned of the initial C-17 deployment only after Mali’s president tweeted the information on the internet.
When that initial, one-week deployment was extended, we were first told not by our own government but by Mali’s ambassador to Canada.
The pattern continues. On Tuesday, International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino announced that Canada will give Mali $13 million. He said it was for humanitarian aid.
But he made the announcement from Ethiopia where, at a summit hosted by the African Union, other nations had just pledged $455 million to fund a military expedition against Malian rebels.
What are our special forces doing in Mali? Some reports say they are there to protect the C-17 crews. Others say they are guarding Canada’s virtually empty embassy.
If the government follows past practice, it will never say. It claims that commando operations must be secret.
A democracy can only function when citizens know how their money is being spent. For the last six years the Harper government has insisted that the public doesn't have the right to that information. An election was fought on the issue.
But you know you are in a dictatorship when the government sends citizens off to war but won't tell you why.
A line has been crossed. The future is ominous.