Conservatives may have broken the law to hide the full cost of war in Iraq: Federal NDP

THE Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) on Tuesday released estimates that the incremental cost of the Iraq war could be higher than a quarter of a billion dollars in one year, noting that the complete cost of the mission could be six times higher.

On top of that, the government refused to provide the PBO with its internal cost estimates, information about air missions, up-to-date flying hours and tracked costs, refusals which the PBO notes “appear to breach DND’s legal obligations under the Parliament of Canada Act.”

“From day one, the Conservatives haven’t told Canadians the truth about the cost of the mission in Iraq, and now it’s clear that they may have even gone as far as breaking the law in withholding key information from the PBO,” said NDP’s Deputy Critic for Defence Elaine Michaud. “Canadians simply can’t trust the Conservatives to be honest about their approach to this costly operation.”

The PBO’s report was in response to a request by NDP Defence Critic Jack Harris. For months the Conservatives have refused to give any public estimate for their mission in Iraq, despite being provided with estimates by DND. Tuesday’s PBO report estimated the incremental costs of the mission, representing the short-term costs of the war. It underlined that the complete costs of the Libya mission was six times higher than its incremental costs.

“The Conservatives are leading Canada into a prolonged war without a credible plan to help victims of ISIL terror,” said NDP Deputy Foreign Affairs Critic Helene Laverdiere. “The Conservatives have left Canadians on the hook for hundreds of millions and counting for their ill-defined combat mission, when we should be focusing more on alleviating the overwhelming humanitarian tragedy unfolding on the ground in Syria and Iraq.”