The terms of reference -

The terms of reference


The government releases Frank Iacobucci’s terms of reference, the opposition is unpersuaded.

“We’re disappointed that the government has told Mr. Iacobucci to basically decide which documents to withhold from Parliament and the Canadian people,” Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said after an event in Toronto Saturday. “He’s been given an impossible job and we don’t believe we’re going to get to the bottom of the Afghan detainee scandal this way,” he said.


The terms of reference

  1. The terms of reference ask Iacobucci to determine whether the contents of the documents could pose a risk to Canada's international relations, national defence or national security, and to examine the question of whether the dangers in releasing them would be outweighed by the public interest.

    I'm not pleased either. The only reason for things to be withheld is if they reveal things that are currently secret that would be useful to the Taliban from a strategic or tactical perspective (the location of prisons, anything about NATO offensives, etc.), not a propaganda one – otherwise we're essentially saying "anything bad about our actions in Afghanistan is classified," which lets the government get away with a lot of things Canadians wouldn't approve of behind our backs.

    Opening the scope to whether something might damage international relations just broadens the ability to withhold anything that would make the government look bad, on the basis that it would make the government look bad.

    • Indeed, if revelation would rightly damage our international reputation, all the more important to have revelation, since that will act as a powerful deterrent to our acting wrongly in the future. It is not, after all, our international reputation that matters; what matters is whether we act rightly or wrongly. Acting rightly is, after all, why our soldiers are fighting and dying in Afghanistan in the first place; they have not been asked to potentially sacrifice their lives in order to bolster our reputation with, say, the Americans. Liberal and CPC governments have both said that over and over again. At stake here is whether we are a moral nation or merely a nation of exceptional vanity.

      • Well said Jack.Indeed,
        "if revelation would rightly damage our international reputation, all the more important to have revelation, since that will act as a powerful deterrent to our acting wrongly in the future"
        Just deciding that revelation would damage our international reputation isn't good enough at all. If this is the only criterion Iacobucci uses, this whole thing will be a fig leaf, a farce; which, this being politics is likely to have always been the intent.

        • Actually, he's not supposed to weed out stuff that's simply a matter of reputation. He's supposed to weed out stuff that's a matter of national security. Or doesn't that matter to the Harper bashers?

          • And it all depends on how you define NS. Is it just stuff that would damage our reputation, or is it truly crucial to our security – you can't see the distinction?

            "Or doesn't that matter to the Harper bashers? "

            No, clearly not because we all so obviously care nothing for our country.

          • I must have missed that part of the terms of reference where it listed "reputation" as a reason to withhold documents. Did you guys just make it up, or what?

          • I'm not sure how people miss stuff that is in the actual article the blog post links to:

            "The terms of reference ask Iacobucci to determine whether the contents of the documents could pose a risk to Canada's international relations"

            You don't need me to explain that our international relations depend on our reputation, right?

          • I think you do need to explain it, since it's you left-wingers who are making it all up. The terms say nothing about reputation. "Relations" is one part of it, and it is certainly different in meaning than "reputation."

            Seriously, did none of you take logic in school, or does political resentment make you forget?

            And I'm 100% positive that Iacobucci will be far more capable of it than most of you. At least I hope to dear God.

          • Oh, Lordy.

            Fortunately, we have a good example handy today. Andrew Potter tells us about Thomas Moore, who proposes that Canada be given a UN mandate to run Haiti for the next 20 years. "The problem is that countries are leery of providing anything more beyond short-term aid, because they fear that such assistance will just be siphoned off by the corrupt leadership."

            And why does Thomas Moore think Canada, specifically, is ideal for the job? A large part has to do with "Canada is widely considered as having one of the most open and honest governments in the world."

            See, this is our reputation, and it affects our international relations. Both with Thomas Moore of the Brookings Institute, U.S.A, and possibly with Haiti, just to name two countries with one example.

          • "Relations" is one part of it, and it is certainly different in meaning than "reputation."

            Dear god just google international relations and reputation…there are tons of references. Get into the 21st century, it may help prevent you making absurd assertions like this.

          • An aspect of our reputation is our ability to maintain secrecy when other governments share information with us. Wide readership by parliamentary committee members who have demonstrated in every case that they only seek partisan advantage would soon mean that we would be cut off from this information- some of which may be provided to safeguard our troops.

            Frankly I wouldn't give a Bloc member anything that hurts Canada's reputation or international relations. "They're legitimately elected too" "or they've taken an oath" doesn't mean a thing when it comes to our security.

          • An aspect of our reputation is our ability to maintain secrecy when other governments share information with us.

            File this under Couillard, Julie.

          • Wasn't getting under Mme Couillard fraught with difficulty before? Why would you have us attempt to repeat the feat?

          • At least your objection is rational. Can't say i like your last point though – all Bloc mps as potential traitors – shades of McCarthy much. Yes we must guard our reputation for being a reliable ally. However, none of this need have happened had Harper cooperated fully with the MCC. In any case i'm sure it would be possible to make the penalty for a committee member leakng national secrets very severe; as for worries about political embarrassment, i'd say that horse has bolted the stable a while ago. Let the chips fall where they may.

          • Who cares about political embarrassment- that's just politics- but if Canadians don't believe that the Bloc would use information in their strategic long-term interest – especially in light of the current trend in support for their "project" as described for us by M Bouchard then we are naive. When a Bloc member refers to the "national interest" what nation do you think they are referring to? We've just become too "comfortable" with our Bloc colleagues-they are nice people after all. If we believe that another large "don't go" rally in Montreal will protect our unity interests then we are dreamers.

          • Riight. So, it is okay to do absolutely anything, as long as you keep it quiet and say you disapprove? Are you some evangelical TV personality or something?

            Do you know what security clearance the redacters of the documents had? Because I don't–I don't even know who they were. Yet another question asked, to go unanswered.

            I do know what security the MPCC commission has, and you can't get any higher than that. Well, perhaps if you went to the Privy Council members, but that avenue was tried as well. So your entire argument is bogus–because now you are also claiming that current and former MILITARY police would also endanger our troops. In fact, it seems every Canadian with the exception of Justice Iacobucci and some unnamed document redacters could not keep this vital information a secret.

            I take from that that the vital information is either not vital at all, or a crime! But you know, you guys are the law and order party, and that's why you've . . . prorogued the law and order agenda at least twice.

          • The terms of reference aren't just "national security". They're also "international relations" – which includes stuff that would make us look bad in the eyes of the world or draw criticism upon us from foreign governments. In other words, it's inherent in the terms of reference that if we're doing bad things they shouldn't be revealed.

          • Katherine, you cannot simply say that "international relations" means the same as "reputation". And besides, sometimes a bad reputation can be good for international relations. (see Iran and how it's being treated by the world at large).

          • They're interelated. How could it be otherwise?

          • Weed out stuff that would be injurious to national security, national defense, or international relations. It shouldn't take much more than a high-school education to understand how anything that could damage our reputation could be seen as injurious to our international relations.

            My hope is that the former justice will take very seriously the mandate to recommend it be released even if it goes against one of the above if it is in the public interest.

            My fear is that whatever he recommends will be ignored, and that given the precedent he's set, he won't bother telling anybody when that happens.

          • a) It's obviously not JUST about reputation, which is what was originally stated.

            b) International relations can sometimes have nothing to do with reputation.

            It's you left-wingers who made it up, and are absurdly adhering to it despite logic or reason. Why do you have to do that? Are the facts so clearly not on your side that you have to obviously make up words and definitions as we go along?

          • What are you talking about? Harper's mandate to Iacobucci is to make two piles. One pile that could be damaging to national security OR national defence OR international relations.

            The other pile that is okay for the members of parliament to see.

            If a document could be damaging to Canada's reputation, it could damage our international relations–Iacobucci does not have to concern himself with the specific relations, how our reputation's damage could be mitigated in this situation or that situation, etc. He just has to put documents in two piles.

            That document goes in the bad pile whether or not it damages national security and/or national defence.

          • Well said Jenn. And if that accurately describes Iacobucci's terms of reference, then the whole thing is little more than an exercise in cynical sophisty, wouldn't you say? Or do you still see some value in this?

          • Absolutely none whatsoever.

            This is as stupid as the response from the Department of Justice to the Parliamentary Law Clerk on whether Parliament trumps the Canada Evidence Act.

          • You could be Marlene Jennings in disguise . She talks just like you do and she reasons just like you do.

            Come on Jenn, out with it!

          • Why would you want to make an asine personal attack like that?

          • sigh…asinine.

          • Well, there could be as many as nine piles. But I would propose merging national security with national defence, which would mean six piles.

            Across the width of the conference room table:
            (1) NS/NS
            (2) international relations.

            Across its length:
            (A) not damaging, recommend release
            (B) damaging, but public interest favours release anyways
            (C) damaging, and public interest favours ongoing concealment

          • We're not talking about public release. Just release to a relatively small select committee. I have zero sympathy for the gov't. The venue for this should have been the military commission. But even here Harper couldn't resist playing the heavy. Bring on the contempt of parliament order.

          • On military commissions: agreed, 100%.

            On small number of MPs in a select committee: Leery. Very very leery.

          • Err.. the only person who originally stated that was you.

            kcm put a question forward, "If this is the only criteria…"

            You're the one who jumped on that as some sort of "Oh, the left believes that's the only criteria there is" which is simply asinine. As the terms of reference lay out, the documents should be evaluated on each of the criteria, and where a document is found to be in violation of any of them can be recommended to not be released, if the public interest doesn't overwhelm the damage.

            International relations may, at times, have nothing to do with reputation, but can you honestly say that damage to our reputation would not cause damage to our international relations?

      • Jack, the saving grace MAY be the following, from the ToR:
        (I never thought I would say this, but hat tip for the link to the actual ToR to Jane Taber)

        (ii) make recommendations as to whether any injurious information or a summary of it should be disclosed on the basis that the public interest in disclosure, including for the purpose of providing parliamentarians with Government information necessary to hold the Government to account on the matter of the transfer of Afghan detainees, outweighs the public interest in non-disclosure for the purpose of preventing injury to Canada's international relations, national defence or national security, after considering the form of and conditions to disclosure that are most likely to limit any injury to international relations, national defence or national security…

        Dear Mr Retired Justice: Thank you for taking this on. May I suggest that you attack the text in question separately through each lens (national defence/security, international relations). This will give you the opportunity to decide, if in your learned judgement you agree, that non-disclosure of only those passages damaging to the former serve the public interest, whereas the public interest is served by disclosure of those passages deemed only damaging to the latter. Best wishes in your deliberations.
        A Canadian.

        • If this is the best we can do, I agree with you. But it isn't the best we can do.

          Harper has had his chance to dance the national security polka with the MPCC as a partner. He has further had the chance to twirl with Privy Council members. With all due respect to Justic Iacobucci, he's only the third wallflower at this fete.

    • You know, I understand that Iacobucci is an honourable man. I would really hope he would take on this task not for partisan reasons, thereby recognizing if he's being used by the CPC as a stalling tacticc.

  2. And this pathetic response had to be released on Saturday? outside the House? to the media,? not to the people representatives?

    • Hey, gotta go right to the people…parliaments just full of opposition mps. They read the media too, don't they?

      • Oh dear, forgot the sarcasm disclaimer.

    • You might say it was released directly to the people.

      The media have let us know. And Monday is coming. My spidey-sense that tells me you can count on the opposition to mention it.

  3. In other words, the only thing that will make the opposition and Harper bashers happy is a manufactured scandal that goes on as long as possible.

    If people genuinely care about our national security, then why in the world would they be against Justice Iacobucci's review?

    Parliament wants the documents. The government says there's some sensitive info in there that they can't have. A former Supreme Court judge will settle the matter.

    But I guess that's not good enough for some. Go figure.

    • Well Dennis, the answers are pretty obvious if you take a moment…

      Many are deeply concerned because we have little of no confidence that Harper will allow the truth to be know. His behaviour pattern has been remarkably consistent in this respect. If he truly wanted to reveal as much as possible while respecting Parliament and national security – i.e., if he wanted Canadians to have as much of the truth as possible, if not the whole truth – then he would have worked with Parliament and the Committees thereof to reach a compromise. Instead he deliberately and persistently disrupted committee work, savagely attacked an honest civil servant, shut down Parliament for 80 days and now sends this whole matter off to neverland with terms of reference that are cleverly suited to deliver the result he wants: no damn disclosure, no truth. This is a another cheap and mendacious political game for Harper; likely to save his own skin.

      Many Canadians, believe that if government officials, military leaders or politicians condoned, encouraged, committed or ignored torture then we damn well need to know. If careers or political aspirations stand in the way of disclosure then too damn bad.

      After Abu Ghraib, the US Congress held public hearings and commissioned investigative reports – much of which was made public. Were their international relations harmed by such revelations? They did. For generations.

      Why do you think Canadians are incapable of having a little truth in our democracy?

      • Yes, we know you hate Harper. We've already established it. But why not let the Justice figure out what to let Jack Layton see in Parliament? I don't get it, except that, again, people like you are simply out to get opponents.

        • (Sorry shoudl have posted as a reply to Dennis, above.)

          No Dennis, this has nothing to do with my political beliefs. Indeed, I might even be so bold as to suggest that in addition to knowing absolutely nothing about me, you may also not know how I vote or whom I like or dislike. I would also offer that thoughtful people deal with the facts and issues and don't resort name calling.

          Dennis, the rules, history and traditions of our democracy make Parliament supreme; not a retired rent-a-justice operating under politically contrived terms of reference.

          In true Canadian tradition, I'm also sorry that you "…don't get it…"

      • Were their international relations harmed by such revelations? They were. For generations.


    • By 'Harper Basher', you surely mean 'supporter of parliamentary democracy'. And the only manufactuary at work in this instance is the office of the Great 'Bashee' hisself.

      Go figure.

  4. I'll also note that no one on the Maclean's blog decided to post a link to the actual terms of reference, especially when it was first released yesterday. Instead, Wherry comes on here only after his Iggy pauses to speak.

    • It's 2 pm right now. The CP story says it was posted 17 hours ago, meaning 9 pm Sat. +/- depending on how you treat the one hour shift.

      This really is an idiotic statement Dennis.

      • It's TWO pm??!!!!

        Oh yeah, darn that time change!!!

      • Wherry's bias is as clear as night and day, and this particular example is nothing in comparison to the more egregious cases. He has attracted quite a following of like-minded partisans.

        • It would come as no surprise to see he carries a Liberal Party of Canada card in his wallet.

          All of his posts are about the Liberal party, which is fair, in and of itself. But it obviously lends itself to questions of bias just because of the uniformity of the material. Just like a judge who always convicts; he might be in the right as a matter of possibility, but that inkling of bias is still there.

          • All of his posts are about the liberal party…maybe it's just the ones you turn up for?

          • Dennis has obviously called in the reinforcements.

    • Wherry posts links to government releases on a regular basis. He's not Harper's steno.

      Besides, if the government wanted people to read their ToR, they would not have released it on a Saturday, quietly on the web.

      Don't complain when others won't play your childish hide-and-seek games, okay?

      • Why make a post that references the terms of references, without linking to the terms of references? And why wait until his favourite leader makes an inane but predictable pronouncement about it?

        I guess it's what passes for crack journalism these days. 17 hours until Iggy says something, THEN you say something. Kumbayah.

        • 1) This is a BLOG. Blog posts aren't held to the same standards as formal journalism. For example, unlike a newspaper article, blog posts aren't required to be full summaries of a story, but can instead be interesting bits and pieces presented to an audience that's expected to have some awareness of the story.

          2) It's pretty rich for you to b*tch and moan about spotty news coverage, considering the government released this politically-charged document on a Saturday afternoon. If Harper wanted full media coverage he wouldn't have sneaked it out the door when people like Wherry are having a weekend.

          Look at me, feeding the trolls. Wasting my time again.

        • Perhaps Wherry believes people can google, etc. and look it up themselves.

  5. Now that Harper & Co. have 'recalibrated' their game plan and switched from trying to implicate our troops on the ground to their latest spin that it was 'non-partisan bureaucrats' who did all the redactions, not the government, it won't surprise me if there's some blowback from those 'non-partisan bureaucrats' in the form of some significant leaks of document contents that will make Iaboucci's review little more than an afterthought.

  6. I found them yesterday, genius. Now I suggest you read my post again and understand what it means. Next.

  7. It's a talking point on the anti-Colvin side.

    • Oh, so it has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand, which is the Iacobucci review. Thank you.


        Funny how the US spends so much less time and effort keeping potentially bad news away from its citizens. Must be their overriding concern with how their reputation is perceived by others.

        • So you, too, have nothing to add to the topic. Just cutting and pasting links. Don't they teach people to formulate their own thoughts in school these days, or to even recognize what the word "reputation" means? And, if they don't, then why not some humility, instead of 24/7 contempt of political opponents?

          • So sorry i don't match up to your exacting standards. You tell me what reputation means, since you're apparently the only original thinker around here. I'm perfectly comfortable with my understanding of the term. DF…what on earth would you have to teach about humility?

      • It has to do with the definition of what our "the interests of national security" are, which is indeed what Iacobucci has been told to assess.

        I've reported your comment as aggressively nasty.

        • Yes, you have to report people who aggressively disagree with you. I heard they're like that in communism.

          Amazing the kind of people that oppose Harper. No wonder he struggles on winning.

          Oh, and I just love it how you don't think a former Justice of the Supreme Court can formulate a reasonable definition of "national security". I mean, would he try to get it from this thread? Lord help us.

          • There is a new policy against flamewars and personal attacks. The idea is to shut down ugly ad hominem confrontations before they happen. I am reporting this comment too.

          • Well, if you knew anything about Supreme Court justices you would know that the definition of something like national security could take a considerable amount of deliberation.

      • Well Dennis,
        Are you asleep today or simply disingenuous?
        " whether the contents of the documents could pose a risk to Canada's international relations"

        reputation has lots to do with relations, last time I checked

        • Here you are suggesting that "relations" and "reputation" are synonymous, and you have the gall to suggest that I'm "asleep today or simply disingenous?"

          It's like nobody is allowed to disagree with you left-wingers, even though they actually know how to read terms of reference, and you don't. My God.

          • And pointing out that your pov may not be right is somehow not allowing you to disagree? I see people having been valiently trying to prevent you disagreeing all over this thread, without much success.

    • I see you've been having some fun with Photoshop!

      • Indeedy! Is yours homemade? Kudos if so!

        • Nope, mine isn't homemade. I'm good at Photoshop, but not that good.

      • But I miss yesterday's mustache !

        • Don't worry – the amphibistache will make a comeback, possibly with a goatee.

  8. No Dennis, this has nothing to do with my political beliefs. Indeed, I might even be so bold as to suggest that in addition to knowing absolutely nothing about me, you may also not know how I vote or whom I like or dislike. I would also offer that thoughtful people deal with the facts and issues and don't resort name calling.

    Dennis, the rules, history and traditions of our democracy make Parliament supreme; not a retired rent-a-justice operating under politically contrived terms of reference.

    In true Canadian tradition, I'm also sorry that you "…don't get it…"

  9. As sterling as Mr. Iaccobucci'ts reputation is, this will not do at all.

    The original order must be enforced. Release all the documents into the hands of the MPs in the standing committee. Let them sort out the national security stuff. Forget talking to Harper about it further, just get the speaker to order the sargeant at arms to go to the relevant offices and take the papers.

    • Why? Why is an independent justice less qualified to determine national security than Jack Layton, Ralph Goodale, or Gilles Duceppe?

      I don't get some of these criticisms, unless their sole intent is to get Harper.

      • Actually, it's probably about the same. Goodale, Duceppe, Layton and Iaccobucci are all dedicated capable people, even when we disagree with some of them some of the time. I trust each of them to go about their tasks conscientiously. No MP has an interest in putting troops in actual danger.

        And therefore I see no reason to put another layer of delay and procedure between the documents and the parliamentarians who must eventually see this important information.

      • "Why? Why is an independent justice less qualified to determine national security than Jack Layton, Ralph Goodale, or Gilles Duceppe?"

        The issue isn't he's less qualified at all, but whether you like it or not Layton, Goodale and Duceppe were elected to Parliament – it's called democracy. In any case there's no suggestion of all mps seeing all the docs; for one thing it wouldn't be practical, and given the numbers involved might well be a risk for a breach of security – however inadvertant. The most reasonable arguement i can see for limitting the access to a committe, is of an opposition mp leaking to embarrass the govt on political grounds. They may not have intended it to damage NS, but it would be a possibility.

      • Not less qualified, just not needed. Parliament should take precedents.

        • So, Harper would be as qualified as other partisans to determine what is and isn't in the best interests of national security, eh?

          Would Parliamentarians be as qualified to determine issues such as gay marriage and abortion?

          Funny how some people conveniently adopt positions at the drop of a hat.

          Don't they teach long-term thinking anymore? Even more than three weeks?

          • Boy, you are in a tizzy. Parliamentarians are qualified and did vote for gay marriage.

            Harper is qualified as a parliamentarian, but not alone.

            I see you just want to attack – must be worried.

            If you don't like a person and/or his policies, doesn't mean you hate them.

            What is it with people like you – disagreement means hate, everyone is the enemy that doesn't agree with Cons.

            Harper's not important enough to bother wasting the emotion of hate on.

          • Yes Harper would be as qualified…he got elected, right.

            " Would Parliamentarians be as qualified to determine issues such as gay marriage and abortion?"

            Of course they are qualified. They could pass any restriction they want. But it would have to withstand a charter challenge. Even then if the vote was truly reflective of the will of the house,and the country, the PM could use the notwithstanding clause to exert parliaments will over the charter. This is moot anyway since Harper has allowed a free vote on SS and has consistently avoided the abortion landmine.

    • I'd have no problem with holding things back on grounds of national security, if there was a sufficiently stringent definition. Documents revealing information that would be useful to the Taliban with regards to strategy and tactics (as opposed to things that they could use for propaganda) should be withheld. Information should not be withheld simply because it makes us look bad, and the current terms of reference leave a very wide degree of latitude – and even encouragement – for that to be done.

      • I agree Katherine. I think the opposition should continue to demand better terms of reference. MAYBE WE CAN APPEAL TO IACOBUCCI'S GOOD JUDGEMENT TO INSIST ON SOME CLARITY HERE FROM THE CPC TO PROMOTE CREDIBILITY in the whole process. Wishful thinking I know…

  10. Well, then you'll excuse me for interpreting your comments the wrong way. I guess when you stated that Harper has never been interested in the truth, and that only the opposition has, I was way out of line in suggesting you were partisan. Only people like you can get it, opponents can't, right?

    Now, are you ever going to address my point, which is to stick to the merits of the Iacobucci review? What specific problem do you have with it? Or do you not care about national security?

    • What specific problem do you have with it? Or do you not care about national security?

      It is possible to have problems with the review and care about national security.

      • Apparently not, since none are being articulated presently. Just a bunch of leftists clicking thumbs-down on my post.

        • your party has months and months to come to an agreement with the opposition parties on an approach that would both respect security and respect parliament. they chose not to bother. hence the unacceptability of this review.

        • The ability to have problems with the review and care about national security is not ruled out simply because no problems have been satisfactorily articulated to date.

  11. MPs seeing unredacted documents isn't the problem,
    the Libs handing them to the CBC is.

    Iffy has 2 choices,
    hold the Govt in contempt of Parliament and get those documents,
    or prove Parliament is supreme when the Supremes say so and let Judge Iaco proceed.
    And he has been given the week-end to decide.

    • You know nothing.

      • Well then that makes me pretty much at par with everyone here, including Wherry.

        So what do you know Mike?
        Is Iffy going on tour this week to force Jack to table a contempt motion, like he threatened?
        Will Jack back down?
        What do you know Mike?

    • '…or prove Parliament is supreme when the Supremes say so and let Judge Iaco proceed"

      Iacobucci is not acting as a SC justice. This is arguably a half measure – it's not the SC, neither is it full disclosure to parliament. Ignatieff has said he has an impossible job. He should pull the contempt of parliament nuclear trigger option if he believes this; whether Ignatieff has the stomach for this kind of fight is another matter all together.

    • wilson, it's painful watching you flaunt your poor understanding of logic.You've resorted, once again, to the false dilemma falacy.

      Is it Conservative policy now to embrace a paramount judiciary? I thought 'Liberal judges' were high on the list of Harper's imagined enemies.

    • how about the CPC handing secret docs to biker affiliates?

  12. I also think PMSH would take this to the SCoC before he would take it to the GG for an election.

  13. And even if we assume the most crass and base motives for leaking information, surely they can embarrass the other side without giving out top secret details.

  14. Parliament says hand over the documents. For a law and orer crowd, this seems odd behaviour.

    • Do you really think that vote in the H of C concerning the Security Documents where the opp. won the vote by a majotity of 6 had any thing to do with law and order. It is obvious to all but blind Lib partisans that the only reason they want those documents public is in the hope there might be something there to embarass Harper. And you can bet that Kinsella and Donolo are already drafting up their adverts for the next election and to hell with our national security.

      I am confident the Judge will do his job well, Canadians will thank him and the Libs will move on to their next fantasy.

      • I also assume Iaccobucci will do a fine job. But the job isn't necessary. And after Harper's cutesy little stalling tactics, I think it's time we got down to business.

        • Common Man, why do you hate our troops?

          See? That's what blind partisanship actually looks like.

      • How much of a majority would be enough of one for you?

        Regardless of their reasons, parliament has spoken. If you don't like what parliament has to say, you have a vote.

        Unfortunately for you, it seems a lot of other "common men" do as well.

  15. While the Iacster is a judge of some repute, I'm sure at 500-600 per hour, he'll take his sweet time reviewing the documents. Heck, he may even give the Tories some donations since he can now afford it :-)

  16. If Mr. Harper's sole concern is about national security, could he not invite members of the Privy Council to a meeting and share his concerns with them? There must be several Liberal MPs or ex-MPs who are members. I believe they are sworn to secrecy, and should be quite able to review what ever documents the government is withholding.

    I am troubled by the fact that Mr. Harper seems to believe that the PMO and the Government do not have to respect the will of Parliament.

    Surely, the will of the majority of members of the House is one of the most basic tenets of a working democracy. Slippery slope…

    • So obviously national security is not Harper's concern because that was suggested to him, the MPCC have the highest security clearance there is and that wasn't good enough for him, the members of the committee have offered to work with him to assuage any security concerns.

      Add to that the very clear redacting of what we now know read as, "which has happened in the past." If those words have the power to damage national security, we'd all better get busy building our bunkers.

  17. Can some one please explain to me why, if the only issue is national security, the MPCC was denied access to these documents when they have the security clearance to see them.

    It doesn't make any sense to me.

    • Doesn't make any sense because that's obviously not the only issue.

  18. so on the weekend MPs rom both the Libs and the Dippers on CTV both said that the Iacobucci terms do nothing to relieve the issue of contempt for the order that Parl made to the CPC government to turn over the un-redacted documents. great. now what, if anything, besides expend hot air, are the opposition willing to do about it? failure to act on the issue of contempt will make clear they are not worthy of the office they hold.

    • I have to agree with you. So, if we effectively don't have an opposition, what do we voters do?

      • Join an existing party, or start one from scratch.

        • Well if the NDP and the Liberals are out, and I'm NOT voting Conservative, that leaves me the Greens and . . .?

          Would you join my party? Or, would you start a party I could join?

          • Why should the existing parties be out? Join in and use your arguments and powers of persuasion to drift the party towards your point of view. Run as a candidate and let your talents be judged by the voters.

            I have never been a political party member and likely never will (why is there all that cheering going on…?). But I have a bit of a feeling that were we both to be members of political parties, we would probably not be in the same one.

          • I have joined in, MYL. I have joined to such an extent I am quite sure my riding association is wondering how to get this woman to not be on every single thing. I am yelling over there almost as much as I yell over here.

            But I'm having about the same effect over there as I am over here, so far. Which is to say virtually nada, or so it seems to me. Although I must also say it is early days yet.

            But then, I resolved when I started to have patience. Unfortunately, my patience will run out at the same time as the contempt charge, because allowing Parliament to become irrelevant is unforgivable to me.

            And sadly, I have learned enough about myself to know that I do not have that something that makes me a good candidate (for pretty much anything). I cannot think on my feet that way, if you will. Nor can I speak a coherent, understandable sentence most of the time. I wish I could, because I'd be AWESOME!

            And I agree that a party that one of us would feel comfortable in would likely not interest the other one of us. Which is almost strange, because we've been agreeing on a lot of things lately.

          • what effect do you want to have there Jenn?

          • I actually think it is time to start something brand new. from the bottom up that deliberately is structured and organized to prevent the rot we are seeing in the other three main national parties.

          • I agree, and I also think that CAPP could be a good first step.

            I've joined in to that as well, but you really kind of do need a leader, I'm discovering.

          • I think CAPP could be an interesting place to start Jenn. it is certainly the biggest (virtual) gathering of potential members/supporters or such an endeavor. i share your concern though re leadership an i would think there would need to be recruiting of someone from outside (no one including White) has looked good enough I don't think. the other concern I have about CAPP is that there is quite a breadth of issues that brings together the CAPP people. I am not sure it is sufficiently cohesive to maintain the (very) long-term project that it would be to create a viable new party (see the Greens). but it may well be worth a try Jenn. not sur what other models would work alternatively.

        • Yeah, let's call it the __________

          I say the "Never-Prorogued Democracy" (N-PD)

          • Yeah, let's call it the…….In Your.Facebook party!

  19. This is indeed a Blog and Wherry has every right to enter posts when he sees fit.

    The problem I see is that this is a MacLean's blog and I understand Wherry writes for MacLeans. So, when is he a reporter and when is he an opinion maker? Is the distinction clear enough?

    I don't know. Sometimes I think the line is blurry, to put it mildly.

    But then again, if you watched CTV's Question Period today, you may also wonder why the Federal Justice Minister was questioned on a provincial case involving Jaffer. Why Kinsella, for instance, was asked what Jaffer's plea bargain had done to the CPC's trustworthyness. I mean, was Graig Oliver digging into the news, or was he creating news with the help of some eager to pile it on.

    I don't know. Should we at least question why news is being created by the media?

    • Have you heard of that old expression, don't shoot all the dogs cuz some of em got fleas?

      As to AW, it's his blog, he has his own style. You're free to refute whatever you don't like.

      • I'm not sure if you understood my concerns correctly. Of course I have every right to refute anyone, including Wherry. But when reputable magazines and established tv news media blurr the line between reporting and newsmaking, and one has to refute in such sets of circumstances, the refuting is no longer just a case of solid argumentation, but becomes a case of trying to set records straight first of all, before a debate can actually begin to take place.

        I'm not sure you understand the dilemna I'm trying to bring to the fore here.

  20. I'm always confused when some participants in a debate take each and every point of debate as a personal attack. Points in a debate are not about personal attacks at all.

    Being able to debate means one must not take any of the arguments (pro or con) in a personal way. The only thing that matters in a debate is that the argument made is as solid as it can be. If an argument is not solid enough, it means it needs to be augmented or needs to be revised, or needs to be …………………..what do I care, really. The back and forths on these blogs are getting pretty petty. Very little of substance is being debated. Too bad, really.

  21. And what's with this score keeping?

    Reminds me of grade school grounds where young kids play games of reinforcement: "You're one of us and you're not…..nanananana!" (sticking out of tongues, kicking of stones across the line, hands in pockets and the turn of an around of "see you next time")

    I couldn't stand it then and I can't stand it now.

  22. The Terms of Reference are fundamentally flawed. A lawyer is being asked which government documents should be shared with Parliament. Canada's Constitution, which is the highest law of the land, includes the ability of Parliament to demand the production of any documents. There is no need to ask another lawyer WHICH documents should be disclosed to Parliament, since the answer is clearly ALL of them.

    What may perhaps be more useful is a discussion of HOW those documents can be shared with Parliament to address concerns about national security; that is not a question set out in the Terms of Reference, nor is it really a legal question. The Terms of Reference spells out a lengthy process that will delay this government from complying with an outstanding order of the Parliament for no legitimate legal reason. If the opposition parties believe in protecting Canada's democracy, they should proceed with a contempt of parliament motion.

  23. What 'International Relations' really means in this context is our ability to get intelligence from international sources. The United States and Israel simply won't be willing to share intelligence with little old Canada if we can't keep it absolutely secret – and since we don't have an international intelligence agency of our own, we rely on it. So anything that flows from international intelligence (which is, likely, practically everything) would have to be redacted.

    The real question re: Iacobucci ought to be whether the Justice is entitled to use his own judgment in determining if the public policy objectives of openness, transparency, etc. should override the need for secrecy in these cases.

    • Good perspective, Darrell.

      Setting the issue into context is important. How we listen to the news etc, how we sift through the news bits, is to do our part.

      The other day I listened to the Current in which an ex military major (can't remember his name) stated that the CSIS involvement (in the detainee issue) was a Canadian first. Luckily for the listener, and good for her, Annemarie Tremonte hastely inserted that this was of course our first war since CSIS had been created. Those kind of corrections, or inserts are necessary to put things in perspective. The major's comment alone could have easily created the impression that in other Canadian wars this was done differently. The fact is, CSIS did not exist earlier when Canadians were at war, and the war in Afghanistan is a very different war compared to other wars having been fought by Canadians in the past. Both must be kept in mind or conversations can easily go off track.