Tories ensure transparency despite refusal to divulge estimated cost of ISIS mission

Watch: Clark grills Parliamentary Secretary to the Defence Minister James Bezan on why the government refuses to pass on the estimated costs of Canada’s mission in Iraq.

OTTAWA — The Americans have come out, as has the Australian government. The Harper Conservatives, however, won’t breathe a word either about the estimated cost or cost-to-date of the country’s involvement in the fight against ISIS.

“We want to report back through the normal processes, the actual costs of the mission as they become known,” parliamentary secretary to the minister of defence James Bezan said in an interview on The West Block with Tom Clark.

Meanwhile, a publicly accessible site from the U.S. Department of Defense lays out the daily costs of its involvement in the mission, the total cost since the mission began and provides details daily on all airstrikes.

WATCH: U.S. and Australia have given cost estimates for the fight against ISIS but not Canada.

The Pentagon has pegged the daily cost of their mission at a little more than $8 million; from Aug. 8 through Nov. 12, the total cost reached $776 million. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he expects the mission to cost the country about $500 million per year.

Story continues below advertisement

Still, Canada will instead only provide costs the “normal way,” as Defence Minister Rob Nicholson has said, waiting until about three months after the mission is completed. The mission began in October and is so far slated to last about six months, but the government could elect to extend it.

Bezan insists the “normal” process is transparent.

READ MORE: Canadian CF-18s conduct ‘secret’ humanitarian air drop escort mission

“We’re going to be accountable and it’s going to be done in a timely manner, but we want to make sure that we’re going to be reporting the hard costs and not some estimates,” he said. “We’ll let the Americans and the Aussies do what’s in their capabilities. We’re going to [do] what’s in the best interest of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Government of Canada.”

Although National Defence has provided a cost estimate to the government, Bezan suggests releasing that information would be dishonest, since estimates can change.

“I think as long as we are accounting for every tax dollar and reporting back the tax dollars that are actually spent, it’s in the best interest of the taxpayer,” Bezan said.

Canada is contributing six CF-18 fighters, two Aurora surveillance aircraft and a refuelling plane to the mission.