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Intelligence officer and ex-diplomat Richard Colvin arrives to testify at a commons special committee on Afghanistan hearing witnesses on transfer of Afghan detainees on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ont., on Wednesday November 18, 2009.Sean Kilpatrick

Canadian military officials wanted diplomat-whistleblower Richard Colvin yanked home from his posting in Afghanistan because they didn't like his internal reports criticizing Canada's handling of detainees, government documents show.

Among other beefs, defence staff in 2007 were upset that Mr. Colvin was exhibiting a "lack of faith in Canadian military leadership" and contradicting Canada's "official position and policy" on prisoners captured and transferred to local interrogators.

Mr. Colvin is the Foreign Affairs officer who last fall reignited the long-simmering controversy over Canada's practice of handing off suspects detained in Afghanistan to that country's discredited and torture-prone intelligence service. He has accused the Canadian government of turning a blind eye to the risks of torture facing detainees.

What's clear from documents released Monday at a detainees inquiry is that officials from the Department of National Defence and military wanted to rein in Mr. Colvin during his tenure in Afghanistan. The diplomat, now posted to Canada's U.S. embassy, spent 17 months in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007.

Spring 2007 memos from a policy adviser at the military's Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM) paint Mr. Colvin as a rogue trouble maker and blabbermouth who was making recommendations far outside his area of expertise.

"Recent messages drafted by Mr. Colvin have illustrated a pattern of reporting that risks compromising Canada's military and diplomatic position in Afghanistan," one memo by Canadian Expeditionary Force Command staffer Mike Carter said.

On two occasions, the note said, senior government officials including a lieutenant-general and an associate deputy minister intervened to "caution Mr. Colvin" about the kind of information he was including in field reports - and how broadly he was circulating them.

The memo suggested that senior officials lobby the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) to remove Mr. Colvin from the embassy in Afghanistan.

"CEFCOM is concerned that his continued employment in Kabul as a political counselor and deputy to the [Head of Mission]could become a liability to the government of Canada's interests if left unchecked," Mr. Carter wrote in a May 7, 2007 note.

"It is recommended that Mr. Colvin be engaged directly by leadership in DFAIT and reminded of his responsibilities as a diplomat and boundaries as a [field]reporter," Mr. Carter said.

"Otherwise his contribution to the embassy in Kabul should be re-evaluated."

Michel Drapeau, a retired Canadian colonel who spent 34 years in the military, said it's highly unusual for the military to criticize a civilian from another department on paper. He said the fact that Mr. Carter felt free to pen these reports suggests the frustration with Mr. Colvin must have been evident up the chain of command.

"The dissatisfaction about Mr. Colvin would have been prevalent within the military," Mr. Drapeau said. "This permitted Mike Carter to follow suit and provide a commentary which he knew or ought to have known would not offend the sensibilities of anyone at CEFCOM. To do otherwise could have been a career-limiting, or inhibiting, move."

Separately, the Conservative government and opposition parties failed to strike a deal Monday on granting select MPs access to secret records on Afghan detainees.

Those involved in negotiations suggest a deal could be struck Tuesday, averting a stand-off between the government and opposition that could wreak havoc with the legislative agenda.

However the NDP is signalling it doesn't expect to be part of any deal reached Tuesday, suggesting the Tories will reach an accord with only the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois.

"That's becoming a very real possibility," NDP MP Joe Comartin said in an interview.

The 145-seat Harper minority government requires only one party's support to reach the 155 votes necessary to pass legislation or avoid a defeat. So it can do without the backing of the NDP.

Mr. Comartin told CTV's Power Play that the Conservatives made "two significant concessions" Monday. He said he expects the Tories will move further Tuesday in an effort to secure the agreement of the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois.

In mid-May, all parties agreed to let a small panel of MPs from all parties full access to detainee records as part of an accord that prevented a Parliamentary showdown. The Tories, Liberals, Bloc and NDP promised to hammer out a full deal by May 31, but that deadline came and went as disagreements continued over the text.

The Conservatives have responded to some of the opposition parties' concerns, but have tried to create a loophole allowing Ottawa to withhold some documents on the grounds they are "not necessary or appropriate for the purpose of holding the government to account."

For instance, a proposed version of the agreement that the Conservatives submitted to opposition parties in late May contained a paragraph allowing Ottawa to keep secret any records on detainees that can be linked to advice it received from government lawyers.

This would be a major exemption. The chief reason opposition MPs want to scrutinize detainee records is to determine whether Canada knowingly transferred prisoners to torture at the hands of Afghan jailers. The Geneva Convention makes it a war crime to transfer detainees to those who would abuse them and obliges the detaining power to recover transferred prisoners if they are being maltreated.