Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Terms of Detainee review blasted by Liberals

I do not see why Rae trusts Iacobucci that is unless he is trusting him to carry out a review in secret and help the government avoid accountability. The government wants to avoid a disaster such as happened with the Maher inquiry where much too much about what goes on in government behind the scenes was revealed. You can also trust Iacobucci to charge a fat fee. The parliament surely has the right to see the documents period end of story. The judge is just part of a department of dirty tricks dodge to avoid accountability.

Detainee review terms blasted by Liberals

CBC News

Retired Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci will review whether documents pertaining to the transfer of Afghan detainees can be released to Parliament. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
Liberal MPs hammered the Tory government over the guidelines a former Supreme Court justice will follow in his review of documents related to the Afghan detainee affair.

During Monday's question period in the House of Commons, Transportation Minister John Baird defended the review's terms of reference, insisting that Frank Iacobucci will have access to all relevant documents.

But foreign affairs critic Bob Rae said while the Liberals trust Iacobucci, they do not trust the government.

"And that's the difference and there’s a big difference. Mr. Iacobucci does not have the power to subpoena the documents."

He also said "the test of relevance is a test that the government itself will apply. It's not Mr. Iacobucci who determines what relevance is."

Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh claimed that the government has hired Iacobucci as "yet another lawyer" who will only be allowed to see what the government wants him to see. He also suggested the government might not allow Iacobucci's report to be made public if the government claims solicitor-client privilege.

Dosanjh also complained that there is no end date for his work to be completed.

"If the government wanted answers it would give Mr. Iacobucci the mandate to conduct a full public inquiry. Or are there horrible secrets that this government is trying to hide?" Dosanjh asked.

But Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said the government is providing "all of the documents that are of interest" and will go back to 2001, when Canada began its involvement in Afghanistan.

"Mr. Justice Iacobucci will have a complete authorization to have a look at those and he’ll report those general findings back to the house."

On March 5, Nicholson announced that the government would enlist Iacobucci to review the documents relating to the Afghan detainee affair and whether some could be made public.

On the weekend, the government released Iacobucci's terms of reference, which included which making recommendations as to what information, if disclosed, would compromise national security; deciding whether disclosing information for the purpose of public interest outweighs the purpose of non-disclosure, and whether any information is subject to solicitor-client privilege.

Opposition parties have been trying to get the Conservative government to release the documents pertaining to the handling of Afghan detainees without heavily blacked-out redactions.

The opposition wants to see if government documents contain information about allegations that some Afghan prisoners handed over by Canadian soldiers were tortured by Afghan officials.

The Tories have said some of the documents have remained censored because of national security concerns.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/03/15/detainee-documents.html#ixzz0iIfxKrx8

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