'The buck stopped nowhere' - Macleans.ca
 

‘The buck stopped nowhere’


 

Global details the case of a detainee kept in extreme conditions while in Canadian custody and the alleged indifference of Canadian authorities. The Star tries to sort out what our allies were doing and why a separate prison was never constructed. And the Globe depicts a mission sorely lacking in organization.

Mr. Colvin sparked a firestorm at the highest levels in Ottawa when he told a parliamentary committee that he warned for a full year that detainees Canadian troops handed over to Afghan forces faced torture before the government began to monitor them.

But behind that furor is another story: outside the combat-focused military, no one was in charge in the early part of the Afghan mission. A scattered batch of mid-level officials, lacking the incontrovertible proof that Canadians had no means to find, didn’t have the overall responsibility or weight to push for big change. “The buck stopped nowhere,” said one official involved in the Afghan mission.


 

‘The buck stopped nowhere’

  1. The buck stops nowhere could be motto of Canadian government for the past 15 years or so, as far as I am concerned. No one is responsible for anything anymore, it is always someone else's fault/responsibility.

    • Seems to me that the Liberals owned up to their misdeeds. Chretien called in the AG and the RCMP to investigate Adscam and Martin not only apologized but called the Gomery Inquiry. When there was a claim of a "Billion Dollar Boondoggle", Jane Stewart resigned even though the alleged misdeeds were under the watch of the prior minister AND it turned out none of the money was actually missing. In the so-called "Strippergate", Judy Sgro resigned only to later to be shown to have done nothing wrong.

      Look, each party has its achilles heel and the Liberals have plenty of them, but on this I don't think you can shluff it off as being OK because the Liberals were just as bad, because (1) they weren't and (2) the standards set by a prior government that got voted out is no excuse for the bad behaviour of a current government.

      • Well put; although the lesson political strategists are likely to take from the last few years is that it pays to avoid accountability. How much credit did the Liberals get for instance for calling Gomery? Less than zero.

        At the provincial level, you can see that Charest has drawn the appropriate conclusions in how he is ignoring calls for an inquiry into the construction industry in Quebec.

        Ultimately the public is responsible if we don't hold them to a higher standard.

      • "the standards set by a prior government that got voted out is no excuse for the bad behaviour of a current government."

        That wasn't what I was thinking, exactly. I think Cons would have been just as bad as Libs were in '90s if they were in power. What I bemoan is that generation before baby boomers have been retiring since 1990, say. And the boomers have been all about truth to power, altering society, hedonistic lifestyle and it affects more than just individual lives. Boomers, and now the generations after them, don't know how to behave with honour. It is all about them, all the time.

        Prior to 1990 or thereabouts, Ministers took responsibility for their Ministries regardless if they were directly responsible for whatever scandal they were involved in.

        And I like how you use the word 'misdeeds' to describe a money laundering operation where $100 million disappeared and never to be paid back. You are not 'owning up' to anything if you have been caught with your hand in the till and then apologize years later.

        • I used misdeed to cover the panaroma of screw ups and corruption under the Liberals. I've never shied from being critical of a lot that they did and didn't do under Chretien and Martin.

          Not sure where you get the $100 million though. The AG put the number in question to be about $40 million but that covered all of those contracts/phantom contracts. The actual amount of the absonded money was about $14 million according to Gomery.

          • "The scathing report used words such as "scandalous" and "appalling" to describe how the Liberal government abused the system.

            She found that $100 million was paid to a variety of communications agencies in the form of fees and commissions and said the program was basically designed to generate commissions for these companies rather than to produce any benefit for Canadians." CBC, Oct 2006 –

            http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/groupaction/

            And Gomery was a joke – a bunch of Libs investigating Libs and then issuing a report that concluded that they were unable to figure out exactly what happened. How convenient.

          • Her issue was that $100 million was paid and less than $100 million in services was received, in fact, only about $60 million in services was received and the rest was the problem.

            As for Gomery, it was staffed with Mulroney staffers, bud, and was extremely thorough and answered the questions about how much was actually passed for illegal purposes.

            But back to your point, the Liberals will own up to their screw ups and will investigate themselves if need be.

            With Harper we have one of the most unaccountable, unresponsive, least open and transparent, most anti-democratic governments in our recent history. For them, it is always someone else's fault or responsibility, never their own. The buck stops nowhere indeed.

          • 'And Gomery was a joke – a bunch of Libs investigating Libs and then issuing a report that concluded that they were unable to figure out exactly what happened. How convenient"

            Absurd…by holding Gomery the libs destoyed their electoral chances in Quebec for god knows how long…that's where the majority of those who followed Gomery reside. It amazes me how bitter the majority of cons seem to be, even the ones who attempt some objective thinking like yourself…it must be the ideaology thing i guess…can't abide the stuff myself…ideaology that is.

          • "by holding Gomery the libs destoyed their electoral chances in Quebec for god knows how long"

            If you are looking for someone to blame for Libs electoral chances in Quebec, look no further than one P Trudeau. Libs regularly won over 50 seats in Quebec until Trudeau came along. Since then, best Libs have done is 36 seats in 2000 election but that's well above average. In '84 election Libs won 17 seats and they were then able to win 12 ('88), 19 ('93), 26 ('97), 36 ('00), 21 ('04) and 13 ('06) seats in Fed elections. (all numbers from wiki)

          • Equally absurd. When Trudeau was negotiating the charter/constitution held 74 of 75 Quebec seats…it was after Quebec failed to sign/got shafted – your pick – i know what my view is, that the libs vote started to slide there. So Trudeau has to carry the can for his parties decline while doing what he thought was right, and strengthening the country – in my world that's principled. It would be more accurate perhaps to blame Trudeau for not leaving the liberal party in the best of shape…but that's another issue entirely.

          • "If you are looking for someone to blame for Libs electoral chances in Quebec, look no further than one P Trudeau."

            "Equally absurd ……. So Trudeau has to carry the can for his parties decline"

            Are you calling both of us absurd? Please keep up with yourself kcm.

          • Hmm, i was rushed. But it isn't that unclear. Yes there was a price to pay for the charter in Quebec. I think what i was trying to say was perhaps Trudeau was to blame for leaving the party in poor shape as far as a successor goes. But on the question of the libs decline in Quebec it was pretty much the price they paid for not securing Quebec's signature. But the price was a wothwhile one and not wholely Trudeau's fault, unless you chose to believe Levesques myth making.

          • Mulroney's to blame for Liberal misfortunes in Quebec. The Bloc gets about 35 – 40 % of the Quebec vote, but walks away with about 65 – 70 % of Quebec seats. A lot more should go to the Liberals (and Tories).

            Actually, we should blame Bouchard more than Mulroney, I guess.

            If the Tories ever manage to eliminate the vote subsidy, Liberal and Tory fortunes would rise in Quebec.

        • That wasn't what I was thinking, exactly. I think Cons would have been just as bad as Libs were in '90s if they were in power. What I bemoan is that generation before baby boomers have been retiring since 1990, say. And the boomers have been all about truth to power, altering society, hedonistic lifestyle and it affects more than just individual lives. Boomers, and now the generations after them, don't know how to behave with honour. It is all about them, all the time.
          …………………….

          Your opinion only. I'm a retired boomer. I certainly did not grow up living a hedonistic lifestyle, nor did the majority of my previous and current friends. You're full of sh*t. I'd elaborate, but don't have the time right now.

          • "You're full of sh*t. I'd elaborate, but don't have the time right now."

            So you have time to tell me I am full of sh*t but no time to explain why.

            Sounds about right for a boomer.

          • "So you have time to tell me I am full of sh*t but no time to explain why."

            Pardon my intrusion, Jolyon, but aren't you a huge fan of Jonah Goldberg? Does the phrase "I don't have time time to get into the weeds on this but…" sound familiar?

            I think novagardener meets the Goldberg standard – what are you complaining about?

        • "the boomers have been all about truth to power, altering society, hedonistic lifestyle and it affects more than just individual lives…"

          Shorter Joylon: "Harrumph!"

          Also: "kids these days!"

      • By contrast, Raitt screws up and fires a staffer (she did apologize though). Harper plagiarizes several speeches and immediately blames a staff writer. Harper never takes responsibility for anything. No one is in charge of Afghanistan it seems and yet you hate the troops if you ask about that. And it seems to be a core pattern: remember when Stockwell Day said the Niagara River flowed south to north? He didn't skip a beat in blaming a staffer for his screw up.

        • Raitt's apology came after a focus group told Harper that this was looking ugly. I'm certain that he isn't the first leader who waited to see what a poll said to respond, but let's not give Raitt too much credit. She still thinks cancer is a sexy issue inwhich to hang her career on — i'm just hoping it really does hang her career. (along with the other shenanigans she's accused and under suspicion of)… Another fine poster child for the CONs illusion of accountability.

  2. No wonder senior career bureaucrats are in full denial too!
    A culture of don't tell me what I don't ideologically want to hear – combined with – and disobeying me is career limiting – what a toxic mix!

    • So it was the American's fault then? Whew! Thank goodness for that!

      "In an interview, the author of the report, military analyst Carl Forsberg said: "It did surprise me that Canada did not make more noise about the difficult situation it was in, and did not press loudly more for outside help."

      On the other hand it was important to trumpet loudly: "Canada's back baby"!

    • There's something vaguely reminiscent of Dieppe here.

    • That ISW report seems to be judging our effort in Kandahar from the POV of the US Army, with its massive manpower. On the one hand, it notes that we could only field a few companies at any given time, and on the other hand they say we "should have pulled back and protected Kandahar." How can you protect a huge city like Kandahar with 380 men? Especially given how few battle casualties we've actually sustained — most are from IED's — it seems like the highly mobile strategy we've pursued, hitting at the Taliban hither & yon to keep them from pushing on Kandahar itself, has been extremely effective.

      On the other hand, it seems right to ask why we didn't ask for support from other countries. Or, some years ago, double the size of our army.

  3. Sounds about right.

  4. It is all over guys. You can stop posting about the Afghan detainee issue. Nobody is listening anymore.

    I think the majority of Canadians respect the government`s handling of the Afghan issue, and more recently the climate TALK meeting.

    It is still the economy stupid and we think the right man is in charge of that file.

    If there is a long-term effect of the attempt by certain interest groups to paint Canada as some kind of evil nation with fossil awards and war criminal accusations, then it will probably convince the majority of Canadians that the Liberals and NDP are not worthy of their votes let alone fit to govern.

    • More like 35% man.

      • Hey, slow down – the "common man" isn't good with numbers.

        Do you have a pie chart?

    • Wow I never though I'd see "respect" and "the government" in the same sentence.

    • Thanks for speaking for me, but I can do it myself. You do not speak for "the majority of Canadians" any more than I do, so why not give your opinion as if it were, indeed, your opinion.

      • I apologize if I have offended your sensibilities. I was just projecting what might happen in the minds of voters when they remember the insulting and unproductive actions of Liberal and NDP`ers attempting to embarass Canada on the world stage. Most Canadians think Canada is the best country in the world and a Conservative majority will ensure that remains a fact.

        • The latest polls suggest that Harper's lead has been halved over the last two months, my friend. So much for your precious majority.

        • I just asked most Canadians what they think of you. Turns out you need shave off that moustache.

          • I also checked in with most Canadians and they would like "common man" to change his ridiculous username.