Mr. Speaker, in January I asked a question in this House concerning a statement made by our Prime Minister. The Prime Minister told this House that the medium lift helicopters and the unmanned aerial drones were already on order.
In fact, neither contract had been signed, contrary to what the Prime Minister stated, and at that time there was no agreement in place to obtain the helicopters' unmanned aerial drones for our soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. This week, we have learned that the Canadian government has partnered with the United States in obtaining the needed military equipment.
However, I should not have to stand in this House to remind the government that Canadians deserve the truth and they expect honest answers from those who are chosen to represent them in this place.
The amount of misinformation that has surrounded Canada's mission in Afghanistan is flabbergasting, to say the least. It begs the question as to whether the misinformation is an intended effort to mislead Canadians on this very important mission, or does the government simply not know what is going on in Afghanistan?
Last spring, we were told there was no evidence of torture with regard to Afghan detainees. Even while officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs, national and international media sources, and even the president of Afghanistan himself, all acknowledged the use of torture by Afghan security forces, the Conservative government simply dismissed these allegations as Taliban propaganda.
For more than a year, the Conservative government has insisted Afghan detainees were being treated fairly and in accordance with the Geneva convention. As we know now, this is simply not the case.
In another confusing incident last summer, the defence minister at the time said that NATO had been notified about the end of our mission. This was not the case at all. For several weeks, we heard contrary remarks from various representatives of the Conservative government as to the future direction of our mission in Afghanistan.
Those were confusing times for members of this House. Those were confusing times for Canadians. And certainly those were confusing times for members of the Canadian Forces.
This Parliament, through the efforts of the official opposition, has been successful in bringing clarity to Canada's future in Afghanistan. However, with its extensive history of mishandling and with the extensive misinformation in this House, can we really count on this government being able to honour its commitments?
Liberals believe that clarity, honesty and transparency are absolutely essential in our mission in Afghanistan. We must work hard to restore Canadians' faith in the Afghan mission, which has been dramatically undermined by the constant contradictions that have flowed from this government.
Today in the question of the week, the Thursday question that the opposition House leader asks the government, the government was asked when it is going to strike the committee that it undertook to report to Parliament to make sure that Canadians and Parliament have transparent access to good information. What did we get? We got a non-answer and heckling by the chief government whip.
Canadians must have faith that core values, including respect for human rights and the belief in the dignity of all people, are at the heart of this mission and that Canadians have a transparent, clear view of what our role is as it evolves in Afghanistan.