The focus of today's Question Period was the allegation, put forward by diplomat Richard Colvin, that prisoners handed over by the Canadian Forces to the Afghan government were abused and tortured. In response to Opposition questions on the issue, the Minister of Defence repeated that the evidence of Mr. Colvin is questionable and that indeed it is false.
Peter Mackay said that "what is being relied upon here is nothing short of hearsay, second- or third-hand information, or that which came directly from the Taliban.” He also maintained that there has been no proven instance of torture.
He maintains also that Richard Colvin's case does not stand the test of reason, as he could have informed government ministers, which he didn't do. However, there are numerous reasons that Mr. Colvin might not have spoken to ministers then, if indeed this is the case. He may have been, like Mr. Mackay, unsatisfied with the quality of the evidence before him.
Due to these vastly differing accounts of the treatment of prisoners and questions surrounding the evidence of both Mr. Colvin and the government, a public inquiry is in order. It is the only instrument we have that will force both sides to present evidence meeting specific guidelines.
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