Iraq War is costly; accountability required

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich – Gulf Islands, issued the following statement today regarding Defense Minister’s decision to release the ‘incremental costs’ of Canada’s combat mission in Iraq:

“Using a term like ‘incremental costs’ hides the true price tag from taxpayers. Canadians want and deserve to know what the actual costs are. Why has the Department of National Defense refused to turn over information requested by the Parliamentary Budget Officer?”

“The Iraq combat mission has already exceeded what the government spent during its seven months in Libya. At the time, the Conservatives claimed the 2011 mission in Libya would cost $50 million. It ended up being an astounding $347 million – nearly 6 times on what was reported according to today’s Parliament Budget Office report,” Ms. May said.

“We know that the estimated $122 million is only a part of the total price. Minister Kenney has already acknowledged they will be higher; but how much higher, he refused to say,” Bruce Hyer, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay – Superior North, added. “For him to claim that this gesture is accountable and transparent is insulting.”

“I believe Stephen Harper has purposely misled the public about the true nature of the mission. He is hoping that instilling fear will blind Canadians to the costs and the risks. This is no time to deceive the public when our soldiers are putting their lives on the line,” Ms. May concluded.