How many?

Aside from a fire alarm, Question Period was highlighted, if that’s the right word, yesterday by various attempts to coax the government side into providing specific information on the transfer of children detained in Afghanistan. Jack Layton, Jean Dorion and Bob Rae all failed to find the right combination of words that unlocks such secrets—notably on the question of how many children have been transferred.

The number of detainees transferred by Canadian Forces was, until this past September, a matter of operational security. Since then the Canadian Forces has committed to releasing such data.

Although some types of Afghanistan detainee-related information remain OPSEC in nature, basic statistical information such as number of persons detained, released, transferred and deceased, does not pose OPSEC concerns. Additionally, the CF has determined that releasing cumulative detainee-related statistics would not pose a threat to Canadians or our allies in the field. In light of these considerations, and in the interest of accuracy and transparency, historical detainee data will now be released on an annual basis – once per calendar year after being protected by the CF for a period of 12 months.

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