Monday, May 12, 2008
The International Human Rights subcommittee picks up its study of the Omar Khadr case where it left off last week with testimony from Amnesty International and the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, before going in camera to discuss drafting an initial report. Which doesn’t mean the hearings are over — tomorrow, they’ll hear from Senator Romeo Dallaire, who, as one would expect, has some fairly strong views on the government’s refusal to intervene in the Khadr case, and instead all but abandoning Khadr to the vagaries of the American military justice system.
The Environment committee combs through the details of an ambitious – and, as a result, likely doomed to eventual government-backed filibuster – Liberal private members’ bill to develop a National Sustainable Development Strategy, which would require, among other things, the creation of a truly independent Environment Commissioner (the current office is under the aegis of the Auditor General, and not a true Officer of Parliament), as well as regular progress reports based on a “standard set of environmental indicators.” The committee will get the Swedish perspective from Ambassador to Canada Ingrid Iremark, who will be accompanied (through the magic of videoconference) by the deputy director of her country’s Ministry of the Environment. Also appearing via webcam: New Brunswick Environment Minister Roland Hache.
Meanwhile, those now notorious “stealth” provisions that would rework the immigration system to put more power in the hands of the minister are the subject of not one but two House committees: Citizenship and Immigration and Finance, the latter of which is also tasked with studying the rest of the 300-odd page Budget Implementation Act, and making sure it gets back to the House before the summer recess. Immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman will appear before both committees today, as will various and sundry other witnesses, many of whom are less than thrilled with the substance of the proposed changes, but even less enamoured with the strategy of slipping them into an otherwise routine bill. To make things even more frantic, over at Citizenship, they’re still dealing with the aftermath of last week’s parliamentary plumbing fiasco, which has forced the committee to pull a double shift today so that members can hear from all those witnesses whose appearances were cancelled when the House shut down early.
Also stuck in catch-up mode: Public Safety, which was also forced majeure into rescheduling for today a meeting with representatives from Imperial Tobacco and Grand River Enterprises, who are appearing as part of its investigation into contraband cigarettes.
And finally, the Senate special committee on Anti-terrorism kicks off its study of the security certificate process, and how it works (or, for that matter, doesn’t work) as part of the Canadian “anti-terrorism framework). Law professors Hamish Stewart and Craig Forcese give senators a crash course in the existing law later today.