A mid-April surprise?

Liberal Dominic LeBlanc says the detainee document review committee will soon be ready to release documents.

“It is our information the process is on track to release a substantial amount of information within the next couple of weeks,” Liberal defence critic MP Dominic LeBlanc, who was also part of the negotiation team with the other parties, told the Toronto Star Thursday.

The NDP’s Jack Harris says an election will make this impossible, but it’s actually not clear to me at the moment, from my rereading of the memorandum of understanding, what the precise mechanism is for the public release of information. Here, for instance, is Clause 6.

Where the ad hoc committee determines that information is both relevant and necessary, or upon the request of any Member of the ad hoc committee, it will refer the disputed information to a Panel of Arbiters, who will determine how that relevant and necessary information will be made available to Members of Parliament and the public without compromising national security, national defence or international relations—either by redaction or the writing of summaries or such techniques as the Panel may find appropriate, bearing in mind the basic objective of maximizing disclosure and transparency. The Panel of Arbiters should regularly consult with the Members of the ad hoc committee to better understand what information the Members believe to be relevant and the reason why. The decisions of the Panel of Arbiters with respect to disclosure shall be final and unreviewable.

Clause 9 allows for the same process should the committee wish to issue an interim or final report.

As for what happens in the event of an election, Clause 10 says the MOU “survives a dissolution of Parliament,” though everything that appears after that renders it a rather confusing sentence.

The oath that members of the committee were made to sign states that “this undertaking is a continuing obligation, which survives the dissolution of Parliament.”

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