Friday, May 30, 2008

Canada-US Civil Assistance Plan finally released by Harper government

David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen points out on his blog that the DND has quietly released on its Canada Command site the controversial Canada-US Civil Assistance Plan. This comes after DND had refused to release it after the agreement was entered into in February of this year. And it is only doing so after the U.S. Northern Command released the document:
Well now the U.S. Northern Command has decided to release the Civil Assistance plan to the public (although there are still some portions kept secret). Yet on this side of the border the Canadian Forces still consider the plan sensitive enough that they have decided NOT to release it….yet. Go figure. NDP defence critic Dawn Black has put in an Access to Information request for the plan and was told it will take 300 days before it is released.

Who knows if the U.S. release will now force DND to reconsider its decision to withhold the plan.
The U.S. release has indeed forced DND Canada to do the same. No more 300 day wait for the document, it's now available here. We can only surmise whether we'd ever be reading it had the U.S. military not acted.

Pugliese, in consultation with a researcher at the Council for Canadians, notes deficiencies in what he's seen of the plan: a good part of it, 23 annexes, still seem to be missing; there's a "Canada-U.S. Combined Defense Plan" referenced on page 1, referring to “support for law enforcement operations” when the plan was supposed to be military-to-military support; and so on.

The plan, entered into by the Harper government in February this year, has raised concerns about sovereignty and creeping integration. The agreement enables troops from either nation to enter the other's for assistance during emergencies.

Consider this evidence of forced publication by the Harper government my contribution to the Conservative secrecy theme going on today...:)

And thanks to a reader for passing this along, as always.