A manual for diplomats inadvertently released by the Department for Foreign Affairs includes a list of countries that practice torture. Two countries, Israel and the United States, have loudly protested their inclusion. In response, the Department has denied that the manual represents the official position of Canada and has agreed to remove the United States from the list.
The presence of Israel on the list is indeed questionable. The Supreme Court of Israel has explicitly prohibited any form of torture, and the evidence is that with the occasional lapse this prohibition is observed. The United States, on the other hand, is quite properly included. We know that the United States deports foreigners, like Canadian Maher Arar, to countries where they will be tortured, and we know that, as a matter of Bush administration policy, the United States engages in torture, including, notoriously, waterboarding. US Ambassador Wilkins did not even have the gall to deny that the United States practices torture - he merely whined about the inappropriateness of including a great country like the US in a list with evil countries like Iran and China.
I find it appalling that the government has so readily agreed to the demands of the United States. If they had any backbone, they would tell the US that it will be removed from the roll of dishonour only when it repudiates torture. The criminals of the Bush administration do not deserve special treatment.