01.07.2010 07:59 AM

Response to the Liar

Column called `dishonest polemic’

January 7, 2010 04:01:00

Re:Accusations of war crimes risky for Liberals, Opinion Jan. 4

In this op-ed column, the Star permitted former Reform Party operative Ezra Levant to propagate a falsehood – about me, and the Liberal Party of Canada.

In the column – which was preceded by no calls for verification by anyone at the Star – Levant insinuated that Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh had linked Canadian troops to the torture of Afghan detainees. This, as Mr. Dosanjh pointed out in a subsequent letter to the Star, was outrageously false.

Unlike many inside the Harper regime, Liberals are concerned about the effect the spreading detainee torture scandal can have on the morale of our troops. The Conservative government, we feel, has been recklessly indifferent to this.

In addition, the Star permitted Levant – a long-time political antagonist whom I am currently suing for libel – to suggest that I also blamed our Armed Forces for torture, without any supporting evidence whatsoever.

On a CTV political panel on Nov. 20, which apparently moved Levant to pen his screed, I stated: “[The Harper government is] trying to destroy [diplomat Richard Colvin] personally, a man who is obviously highly regarded. Now they have two problems. They seem to be indifferent to torture, and they seem to be engaged in a comprehensive plan to cover it up.”

At no time did I, or any Liberal, accuse our brave Canadian men and women in uniform of acts of torture. In fact, we have been critical of the fact that the Harper regime “seem to be indifferent to torture” committed against Afghan detainees handed over to Afghan authorities. We have also been critical of the government’s desire to destroy Mr. Colvin, instead getting to the bottom of this sad affair.

Mr. Levant, I suspect, was moved to write his partisan attack because the host of the CTV program mocked him at the end of the segment. But that does not explain why a newspaper like the Star would accept his dishonest polemic for publication in the first place.

Warren Kinsella, Toronto

UPDATE: On reflection, I think “mocking” doesn’t accurately reflect what Tom Clark did. It was more like “poking fun.” Either way, however, The Liar© is still The Liar©.

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