Tortured math

When Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird turned up at the podium yesterday afternoon, he announced as follows.

Just now, on behalf of the Government of Canada, I tabled documents relating to Canadian-transferred Taliban prisoners reviewed as part of the Ad Hoc Committee process in the last Parliament.  This concludes that process which has cost Canadian taxpayers over $12 million.

As it turns out, the cost for the parliamentary review—in which documents were reviewed by an ad hoc committee of MPs and a panel of former judges—was something closer to $4.5 million.

Baird said the process cost $12 million, but a government official later admitted that amount includes the cost of producing and redacting documents for two proceedings at the Military Police Complaints Commission. The commission spent months conducting hearings on a complaint by Amnesty International. The cost to find and redact documents was $10 million, of which $7.5 million is due to the commission hearings, Baird spokesman Chris Day wrote in an email. “The remaining $2 [million] relate to remuneration and disbursements associated with the work of the panel,” he wrote.