Ambassadors condemn Peter MacKay’s attacks on Colvin

Twenty-three former Canadian ambassadors have condemned the Harper Government’s treatment of diplomat Richard Colvin in a letter released to The Globe and Mail. The ambassadors singled out Peter MacKay, who accused Colvin of accepting the word of “people who throw acid in the faces of schoolchildren.”

“[MacKay] savaged [Colvin] in public, and ridiculed him, and that’s not the way to treat a guy who’s doing his job,” Paul Durand, a former Canadian ambassador to the Organization of American States, to Chile and to Costa Rica, told the Globe. “He is not a whistleblower. He was hauled before a parliamentary committee and had to state the truth.

The Ambassadors wrote:

The Colvin affair risks creating a climate in which officers may be more inclined to report what they believe headquarters wants to hear, rather than facts and perceptions deemed unpalatable,

A fundamental requirement of a foreign service officer is that he or she report on a given situation as observed or understood,” the former heads of mission said. “It is only in this way that any government can draw conclusions knowledgeably and make its considered decisions, even if at variance with the reports received.

The Globe did not print the full text of the ambassadors’ letter, but if someone would like to send it to us, we will post it.