'This report has not been hidden'

Speaking to reporters last November, a day after a much-watched vote on the firearms registry, Peter Van Loan, as public safety minister, attempted to explain why he was only then releasing a seemingly relevant report into police use of the registry. “I received it and looked at just recently,” he said, “in recent days.”

Turns out the number of days between the report’s delivery and that statement was 49.

The documents include a Sept. 16 letter from William Elliott, the Tories’ hand-picked head of the RCMP, addressed directly to Van Loan. Elliott also serves as Canada’s commissioner of firearms. The letter says the 2008 annual report is enclosed and advises the minister of the 15-day rule for tabling.

Van Loan also received an Oct. 8 memo from his deputy minister, Suzanne Hurtubise, confirming that the RCMP had submitted the report to the minister on Sept. 17 — starting the clock ticking for parliamentary tabling. “It is recommended that you table the 2008 Annual Report of the Commissioner of Firearms on or before the statutory deadline of Oct. 22, 2009,” Hurtubise advised.

The office of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews apparently maintains the report was not delivered until Oct. 9. That is, perhaps notably, the same date of delivery the RCMP provided at the time of the report’s release.

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