Taxpayers deserve truth

The federal government is refusing to reveal the anticipated future cost of the war in Afghanistan on the grounds that doing so would threaten our national security.

The federal government is refusing to reveal the anticipated future cost of the war in Afghanistan on the grounds that doing so would threaten our national security.

Believe it or not, the Conservatives maintain the Taliban would somehow benefit if taxpayers were told how much money we will have to cough up in the near future for the fight overseas.

Of course, that’s silly. Ordinary Canadians, who may be tiring of paying for a war that has so far accomplished relatively little, deserve the truth.

Former U.S. President Richard Nixon, a scoundrel in anyone’s books, tried to hide behind the excuse of “national security” when it came to his own misbehaviour. That strategy worked for a time, but the truth eventually came out — as it nearly always does.

In the case of Canada’s participation in the war in Afghanistan, Ottawa may be able to keep the mounting costs secret for a while (perhaps until after the next election), but they will be revealed someday.

Canadian taxpayers deserve to have that information now so that they can decide for themselves, before the next election, if we’ve getting much bang for our buck.

From figures released in the past, it’s apparent that the war in Afghanistan is costing Canadians about $1 billion per year, and possibly a lot more than that.

Some political pundits are speculating the Tories won’t release the future expected price of the war because the cost is out of control.

Canadians got really angry when they found out the federal Liberals had squandered at least $1 billion, and possibly $2 billion, on an unpopular gun-control program.

Now it seems that, over the course of several years, the Conservatives are spending billions and billions of dollars on a war that NATO will never win and one that will ultimately do little for the civilian population in Afghanistan.

According to Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, the full cost of the mission may exceed $18 billion by 2011.

Perhaps that money would be better spent on schools and hospitals in Canada.

Federal New Democrats ought to be congratulated for pressuring the federal government to come clean on the cost of the military mission in Afghanistan. One can only hope they succeed in shaming the Tories into revealing the truth.

It’s fair for the government to keep such war details as troop movements private, but there is no excuse for declaring the cost of the war a state secret. Doing so simply fuels mistrust and makes one wonder what is really going on with the war.

Canadian soldiers serving overseas deserve the admiration of their fellow citizens back home for their bravery and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice, and they also deserve an honest government.

If they are simply fighting to defend a dishonest government, then our soldiers might as well come home right now. There’s no need to add to the Canadian military’s death toll of 120 in Afghanistan if this is all a political game.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, why won’t you be forthright with Canadian taxpayers?

Lee Giles is an Advocate editor.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Hundreds of people have lined the route of a funeral… Continue reading

Calgary police officer seriously injured

CALGARY — The Calgary Police Service says one of its officers was… Continue reading

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

MONTREAL — Canadian politicians are adding their voices to the international reaction… Continue reading

‘Four of a dozen kids will not make it:’ Tina Fontaine’s family healing together

WINNIPEG — Melissa Stevenson was just starting her career 18 years ago… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $16 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $16 million jackpot… Continue reading

Hundreds of neo-Nazis march in Berlin, protected by police

BERLIN — Hundreds of neo-Nazis waving flags with the colours of the… Continue reading

Romanian trucker is Genoa bridge’s 43rd victim

GENOA, Italy — The Latest on the Italy bridge collapse (all times… Continue reading

1 dead, 6 injured after building collapse in Nigeria capital

ABUJA, Nigeria — An emergency response chief says one person is dead… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month