As reported in the Ottawa Citizen, citing reasons of national security the Canadian government will no longer report the cost of its ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. In previous years the government has complied with access to information requests but, for the next three fiscal years, this will no longer be the case. According to last year’s data, the costs for the last fiscal year topped $1 billion for the first time and this year’s figure was expected to be even higher. Citing Section 15 of the Access to Information Act which allows the government to deny requests which pertains to “information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs, the defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada or the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities.”
As Steven Staples of the Rideau Institute and Ceasefire.ca has pointed out his is of course unfolding over the backdrop of an economic recession as well as the recently reported $50 billion federal deficit in which the unemployment rate has climbed 2.1% since October 2008, hitting and eleven-year high of 8.4%. In short, at a time when Canadians are becoming increasingly skeptical about the current state of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan while simultaneously facing an economy in decline. Canadian taxpayers are being deprived of the very information that would aid them in developing an informed opinion of these matters.