Thursday, November 26, 2009

Canadians Believe Colvin, Want Inquiry

Another poll, showing overwhelming support for Colvin. These numbers partially (Nov 24, 25) take into account this week's circle the wagons routine in Committee, showing that the government has failed miserably, putting Colvin's "credibility" into question. The poll also finds majority support for a public inquiry. As an aside, a few quick thoughts on today's proceedings after the numbers.

Rarely do you see such a lopsided finding:
49% find Richard Colvin’s testimony credible; 10% side with federal government ministers

Five to one, find Colvin more credible than the government. Two polls now with the same theme on the crediblity front. This means that these attempts to dismiss his information haven't "struck a cord" with pretty much anyone. Even in Alberta, only 24% believe the government. Further, this lack of support for the government position means that even bedrock Conservatives aren't buying the retort.

The only highlight for the government, as this all unfolds, Canadians aren't necessarily blaming anyone for the torture itself:
Still, Canadians are not ready to point fingers. While one-in-five (21%) blame politicians in Ottawa for the alleged mistreatment of Afghan prisoners, 16 per cent think the Canadian troops in Afghanistan are responsible. A More than a third of respondents believe neither is to blame (36%) and one-in-four (27%)
are undecided.

I believe it's this kind of sentiment that the government is hanging their hat on, an almost passive acceptance that "shit happens", to put it crudely.

However, this debate over a public inquiry isn't one the government is winning:
majority of respondents (53%) support launching a public inquiry on what the government and the Canadian Forces knew about reports of prisoner torture in Afghanistan, while 36 per cent are opposed.

A pretty decisive opinion, in spite of all the baggage surrounding the idea of public inquiries. The government can blame themselves, because their resistance to handing over documents has fueled the idea of an inquiry, to get to the bottom of the confusion.

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A couple quick comments on Mulroney's testimony today:

-Apparently, everybody knew that torture was commonplace in Afghanistan, including Mulroney, but a different, more humane culture seemingly existed where Canadian detainees were sent. It's almost farcical to hear Mulroney admit public knowledge, but then make the distinction there was no evidence that it involved Canadian detainees. So, torture was everywhere, just not where we were? Take leave of your senses. That doesn't pass the sniff test, it's merely a way to try and bridge the chasm between knowledge and culpability. Weak.

-Yesterday, there was no knowledge from the military of the Governor using torture. Today, Mulroney not only admits knowledge, but then says the Governor's home was inspected. Okay.

-Mulroney basically said that opinion was heard, in reference to Colvin, but then the high ups would make a decision and surrogates were to accept that policy. Mulroney painted Colvin as a dissenter, who ultimately couldn't accept decision making that didn't completely reflect his personal opinion. I didn't like the tone of Mulroney here, basically it amounted to "you said your piece, we're not addressing it, DEAL".

-We all know that the detainee transfer question evolved over time, and measures were enacted to change the hand over process. Rehashing this, over and over, is completely and utterly irrelevant to what happened prior to that VERY PUBLIC and ALREADY KNOWN change in direction. Meaningless, after the fact, padding.

14 comments:

MississaugaPeter said...

Steve,

Unfortunately I disagree, Canadians DO NOT WANT ANOTHER INQUIRY!

The only issue concerning average Canadians right now and the next few months (after we get our credit card bills in January) is the economy.

I'm doing great, because I offer the best services at the lowest prices, but all around me, I see grief and anxiety.

The problem is that my present Liberal leader is not showing his compassionate side (if he has one).

People are struggling, and they know WHAT HAPPENED IN AFGHANISTAN IS WRONG, but anyone who has read Maslow, knows that this will not have any traction when people are struggling or in fear of the future.

The old Liberal Party which represented the little guy (and was centre-left) would be showing its compassion and offering alternatives.

Right now the Conservatives are the only ones who get it. Maybe the left side of the spectrum is populated by too many folks who grew up with silver spoons in their mouths.

Steve V said...

"Unfortunately I disagree, Canadians DO NOT WANT ANOTHER INQUIRY!"

That's nice.

You know what dude, you read like a bitter fool these days. Seriously. Try to look at the odd thing objectively, instead of the massive CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER. Anyways, your party....

MississaugaPeter said...

Sorry for offending...

You don't have to tell anyone I won't be missed. It's a given. I understand.

Steve V said...

Entitled to your opinion, you just seem so jaded. I'm a Kennedy guy too, but you sound like a Con for cripes sake.

Steve V said...

Anyways, I'm not convinced that this issue is on the tip of every Canadians tongue, but it sure isn't helping the government. I also think, beyond all this "stick" stuff, there's a moral necessity to get this right, regardless of politics. I'm also intrigued by the "brown people" aspect, maybe the outrage would be greater, if not for the latent bigotry and misguided patriotism.

KC said...

I'm not going to put a lot of stock in the numbers regarding Colvin's credibility. My experience has been that 2/5 people in Canada barely understand the differences between the party and 9/10 tune out if they hear the words 'diplomat' and 'parliamentary committee' on the news. A good deal more probably answered reflexively based on their political leanings (its not a coincidence that most of the BTers downplay his testimony while liblogers are inclined to believe it). Does anyone really think that a poll about the publics assessment of his credibility yields much in the way of useful information on that question? I sure don't. Public opinion polling is useful for very simple, straightforward questions but this is a little too complex for our collective feeble mind.

marie said...

MississaugaPeter, Unfortunately I DO NOT Agree with you either . Your nothing but aparrot repeating the spin the cons are feeding you.

Great post Steve but the spinners are once again ready to pounce on the messengers that do not see or agree with everybody wxcept the spin the Cons keep feeding them.

Peter here is far off target complaining about his busisness which is way off topic but I can understand why his business is suffering. Your attitude sucks big time.

P.S,Don't try and speak for all us Canadians either.

Go ahead and adore the Cons but don't expect the rest of us who use our brains to reason the story to follow suit. You know Peter, your beloved party are nothing but liars and that puts them in the crook category. I wouldn't trust any of them as far as I can throw them.

You know Peter, If I had a chance to ask the 4 amigo's a question, it would be."Who wrote your reports for you" I am thinking the Reform cons did. BTW Peter, the afghan detainees has nothing to do with the economy but the present government sure as hell has. You want to blame anyone for the economy mess we are in ,look to your freaky dictator to blame.

With your personality, its no wonder your business is slow. I wouldn't shop in your premises either to tell you the truth. Nah! It ain't going to happen dude. who would with such an attitude as you seem to have.

Maybe the left side of the spectrum is populated by too many folks who grew up with silver spoons in their mouths.

And maybe the right side grew up in a bulling environment. And don't bother saying sorry here Peter unless you mean it which I'm sure you don't or you would not have made such a statement on your post.

KC, because you are of feeble mind doesn't mean all Canadians that don't adore the Haper government are. Man you guys are sick.

Steve V said...

" A good deal more probably answered reflexively based on their political leanings"

You can read right? You mean there are only 10% of Cons leaners? Such crap.

Gene Rayburn said...

KC I'm not going to put much stock in you having an independent mind. Just data fed to you via the internet.

Thanks for the relay, data-bot.

Marpman said...

But this is an important issue...oh so important. Whether it registers on the populous radar or not makes it no less important.
We are talking credibility here, accountability and transparency. This has nothing to do with Canada's forces on the ground in Afghanistan, nor the military in general. This has everything to do with the awareness of a situation in violation of both Canada's code of conduct as well as the international conventions of which we adhere to. It also has to do with the fact that our government, as well as senior military officials did nothing to investigate and correct the actions. I believe that all military personnel should be concerned about that, especially when it involves torture. Regardless of whom, it is something we as Canadians do not support...and neither do our military forces.
Remember, regardless of the current economic times, our (wonderful) government has committed billions to the military..so any talk about priorities is silly. This government loves the guns...
From what I have heard, Mulroney was not the bombshell..in fact, he acknowledged that they knew things were not good in the prisoner handover. Hmmmm....so maybe it is time Hillier admits to this as well....sh*t floats to the top, take some responsibility for your mishandling of the situation...remember...you will get your Senate posting regardless of your abilities, you are safe.

Jerry Prager said...

Of course it's an important issue, what Al Gore on the CBC the other day referred to Canada's moral leadership - 'fighting above our weight', we used to be respected, now were Harpercrites. Do Canadians care about that ? No. But it has to be done anyway. Surely a private members bill can force this into an inquiry ?

KC said...

I never said the issue doesn't matter. Only that a poll about such a wonkish issue as the credibility of a diplomat who testified before parliament isn't worth much given how little the public pays attention to politics.

Liberal Justice said...

None of us are Kennedy guys anymore, or Rae guys, or Dion guys. We're only Ignatieff guys!

MAR-TE said...

Hi Steve V. Just read your blog about Colvin and inquiry.
Sorry, I can't post comment on your blog but feel free to put this up if you want wherever you want. My handle would be MAR-TE.

"There is something I don't understand about Colvin and Credibility. The Conservatives, the Generals and Mulroney are all basically saying Colvin's testimony and information was NOT CREDIBLE. Yet they (the Cons) eventually made some changes to their detainee program. My question, and it really bothers me...who was/were the person/people who supplied the supposedly Credible information on which the Cons changed their policy. I mean if Colvin's information was not Credible somebody's had to be, right. Who were the people giving the Cons this supposedly Credible info on which they changed their detaineee policy, what was it and when did the Cons get this infomation.
They say Colvin isn't Credible. Who was, what was the new infomation and when did they understand it. Might be a good question for the committee."

MAR-TE