Canada

Dion accuses cabinet minister of security breach, calls for resignation

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has called for the resignation of a Tory cabinet minister, claiming she endangered his life by revealing details of his visit in southern Afghanistan.

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion has called for the resignation of a Tory cabinet minister, claiming she endangered his life by announcing his plan to visit a provincial reconstruction team in Kandahar.

Speaking to reporters in Quebec, Dion said Helena Guergis, secretary of state of foreign affairs and international trade, made a serious breach of security in a statement she released to the media about his trip with Deputy Leader Michael Ignatieff.

Dion, who just returned from Afghanistan, also wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, demanding she be removed from her post.

"In publicly revealing in advance the itinerary of the delegation in Afghanistan, Ms. Guergis violated the news blackout put in place for our protection, jeopardizing the security of the Afghan and Canadian military and civilian officials who welcomed and accompanied us during our trip," Dion wrote.

Guergis' statement Saturday criticized Dion and Ignatieff, suggesting they had waited too long to visit Canadian soldiers.

She added that Dion "should apologize to our troops while he is touring the PRT (provincial reconstruction team).

Dion said the Taliban could have acted on this information.

"This gross breach of Canadian security is beyond irresponsible and calls into question her ability to fulfill her duties as a member of cabinet," Dion wrote.

It was known that the two politicians had travelled to Kabul, but the details of their trip to southern Afghanistan and their visit to the base in Kandahar were kept secret to protect them from attack.