Liberals under fire for clampdown on Iraq mission details


OTTAWA — The Liberal government is under fire for a clampdown on information about Canada”s mission in Iraq, which enters a critical stage this week as Iraqi forces attack the city of Mosul.

Conservative defence critic James Bezan honed in on transparency during a news conference on Parliament Hill.

He says the military provided more detail about the fight against ISIL while the Tories were in power.

That included the number of troops on the ground in northern Iraq as well as how many times those soldiers had called in airstrikes and engaged in firefights with ISIL forces.

Those details have all but dried up since the Liberals won the election on a platform that included promises of greater transparency and an end to Canada”s combat mission in Iraq.

This is despite revelations that Canadian troops have been spending more time on the front lines and engaged in a number of firefights with ISIL to protect themselves and, in some cases, civilians.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is defending the Liberals” tight grip on information, citing operational security as well as the potential threat to soldiers.

But Bezan says the Conservatives were able to provide more detail without sacrificing security and that parliamentarians, Canadians and the soldiers” families deserve a clearer picture of what”s going on.