18

Day 13 of 14 (II)


 

CP’s Joan Bryden gets at a crucial point in the detainee document discussions.

The parties have yet to agree, however on the most crucial point: how to resolve any disagreement that may arise over which documents can be disclosed publicly without jeopardizing national security.

Sources said the government proposed Thursday that the issue of disclosure be decided by “consensus” among MPs on the special committee. But opposition negotiators weren’t thrilled with the idea, seeing it as a way to essentially give a veto to the government.

The government’s negotiators – House Leader Jay Hill, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and government Whip Gordon O’Connor – did not describe the proposal as a bottom line and seemed open to other options, sources said.


 

Day 13 of 14 (II)

  1. Isn't this where Iacobucci's mandate is changed so that he answers to Parliament, allowing him to act as advisor to the Special Committee on this issue?

    If not Iaccobuci, some other legal and impartial advisor should do.

    • Agreed PolJunkie. It seemed that Iaccobuci already had the respect, and perhaps the confidence by all the parties. He also agreed to work on the file in some way with the CPC.

  2. Parliament can call whomever it wants to advise it, SIRC, Ministry officials, Iaocobucci if so moved. But Parliament, Parliamentarians, must have the last word on what documents are made public, and how (summaries, etc.). Given good faith and political costs of unwise disclosure, perceived or real, the real risk is Parliamentarians are too cowardly, rather than too courageous. But that's their job, their OBLIGATION, as Milliken reminded them.

    So however the committee is composed and run, when there is deadlock, those papers should be put aside until the end, when they call in the Speaker to break any deadlocks: he is also a Parliamentarian, but would be an independent outsider to the committee, his position as Speaker representing the trust all parties have in him as independent arbiter of Parliament as he was voted into his position by all parties. He would bring a fresh pair of eyes, trust, position, reputation and as the deciding vote in case of a deadlock, as a fellow Parliamentarian, Parliament's privileges would remain protected. Furthermore, as a Kingston descendant of Loyalists, naturally small-c conservative, a red tory really, his instincts and judgment are beyond reproach, even too conservative for my tastes.

    But it's unlikely there would be many, if any conflicts, if all proceed with good faith. And it would be an odd bunch of MPs who decided to release documents despite the consensus advice of officials, including SIRC folk, who are used to call horse manure on government claims of necessary secrecy. These MPs, and Milliken, given the stakes, are not an odd bunch. They are very serious, and if anything, overly cautious and conservative, understandably, if sometimes wrongly, so.

    • "Parliament can call whomever it wants to advise it, SIRC, Ministry officials, Iaocobucci if so moved. But Parliament, Parliamentarians, must have the last word on what documents are made public, and how (summaries, etc.)."

      Very true. Thank you for reminding us.

      • Although Parliament may, in its wisdom, choose to delegate that authority. There is nothing wrong with MPs agreeing to let an impartial arbiter, eg Iacobucci, decide which docs to make public, as long as it is their decision to do so. They could even leave it to Iacobucci to decide which documents to show them, if they so chose, though I think that would be inadvisable.

        • I have no doubt former Justice Iacobucci – now just another lawyer for hire – would abide by his professional obligations to provide the best possible advice to the House if so engaged. However, I'm not convinced that he can, in fact, ever be objective after having taken on the initial review on behalf of the government. Even if the applicable Law Society and rules of professional conduct permit what approximates a "switching of sides", I'd never hire any legal counsel that did so.

    • if all proceed with good faith

      "if"

      That is the big question is it not?

      With all due respect, we would not be in this situation had all proceeded in "good faith"…in fact, we would probably not have a dysfunctional parliament if this were so the case….

  3. Harper must submit to Parliament. Of course, since he is pushing his rightwing fundamentalist religion on Canadians, Harper understands the concept of submission, as in the fundamentalist belief that women are supposed to submit to their husbands.

    Well, Harper must submit to Parliament or be found in contempt.

  4. You had me with you until your third sentence EFL.
    More smoke has been blown recently by "friends of government" that we risk upsetting friendly nations etc. who have provided information to us discretely – and who may not provide any again yada yada yada…
    Well – it has been clear for some that the war that we got into for President Bush (because we didn't get into his other war) created problems as soon as its mandate changed and widened – because we discovered we couldn't in all conscience, hand over prisoners to US forces who were mandated by their leadership to use torture.
    As to good faith between Opposition parties and the government – there almost certainly isn't any – so – if and when they reach an impasse – they do not "put it aside to the end" (which would be to the benefit of the party who wishes to avoid revelations (for whatever reasons). They MUST get it resolved immediately – or in legal jargon "forthwith"

  5. Does anyone expect the Harper government to act in good faith?

  6. After fighting for the past year any and all substantive document release, smearing Colvin, obstructing the MPCC and labeling as troop-hating and Taliban-loving all who objected to thier behaviour, does anyone honestly expect the this government to now roll over and issue the parliamentary equivalent of "be gentle with me"?

    Anyone?

  7. The government will never agree to relinquishing control over who sees the documents and when. They've gone to great lengths to try to block its release, as noted by commenters above.

    What is perplexing is the apparent indecision of TheMasterStrategist. You'd think that he'd have marched off to Rideau Hall by now, demanded an election, and started running ads against Taliban-loving separatist-and-socialist-embracing Liberals.

    I guess the internal polls, even when they're polished shiny bright for the leader's consumption, must be just awful.

    • I'd guess not awful but not good enough to deliver a majority with high probability.

      Harper has played and won at this game before. Remember the EI Working Group from last summer? Big joint announcement with the LIbs, then the government spent the entire summer doing everything possible to ensure it didn't even meet nerver mind accomplish anything. So, I expect Harper is confident that he can make a show of negotiating hard, eventually reach an agreement and then basically undermine and ignore the subsequent process. Once we're into the summer recess, there's not a darn thing the Oppo can then do about it.

      • In other words, the Harper Conservatives cannot be trusted; they are only in gov't to further that not so hidden agenda, not to participate in our democracy.

  8. I wonder how many hours our elected ones have spent on this issue? If the Opposition and the governing Party do come to an agreement, how do we know that ALL of the documents will be released? I thought that many had been reported missing 2 weeks ago.

    Perhaps they should just get out the rulers, measure up and get on with the real business of governing Canada, you know, jobs, the economy, the environment et al.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

  9. I wonder how many hours our elected ones have spent on this issue? If the Opposition and the governing Party do come to an agreement, how do we know that ALL of the documents will be released? I thought that many had been reported missing 2 weeks ago.

    Perhaps they should just get out the rulers, measure up and get on with the real business of governing Canada, you know, jobs, the economy, the environment et al.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

  10. "What's the hold-up harper? What are you hiding? "

    I dunno. Sketchy detainee transfers committed by an armed force sent by the Liberal government whose decision it was to invade Afghanistan, and who signed us up for the Kandahar mission, and who signed the agreement to transfer detainees to the Afghan authorities? With the support of the New Democratic Party, I might add?

    Those were all Liberal decisions. It's the Liberals' fault we are in Afghanistan in the first place.

    When the issue of detainee mistreatment was raised under the Tories, they suspended detainee transfer until new safeguards were in place. I have read Colvin's documents and they contain only unsubstantiated accusations of mistreatment, and Colvin's own interview with Afghan detainees who told him they were mistreated, claims which could be seen as self serving and designed to exploit naive or machavellian types back home in Canada.

    I'd be surprised if Afghan detainees weren't mistreated, but then again I'm not a Liberal and it wasn't my Liberal government who thought it would be a good idea to invade Afghanistan and to later pal around with the shady, shady leadership we have all but installed there. If anybody should be sent to the Hague to answer war crimes accusations before an international court it should be Jean Chretien.

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