Thursday, November 26, 2009

I would have looked like a genius.

Crap. It was only a couple of days ago that I read this:

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper moved Tuesday to calm the political storm surrounding the handover of Afghan prisoners, vowing to release all "legally available" documents related to the matter.

And the instant I read that carefully-qualified promise, I said to myself, "All Harper's going to do now is frantically classify anything he doesn't want public, which will -- by definition -- make them no longer 'legally available.' Problem solved."

I should have predicted that publicly when it occurred to me, 'cuz I would have looked like a freakin' genius:

Feds bar whistleblower diplomat from handing over torture documents to MPs

By Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The federal government is blocking whistleblowing diplomat Richard Colvin from giving documents to a special House of Commons committee investigating Afghan torture.

The revelation Wednesday came one day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged that the committee would get "all legally-available" documents in order to carry out its investigation.

Justice Department lawyers have told Colvin - through the Foreign Affairs Department - that they do not accept the view that testimony before Parliament is exempt from national security provisions of the Canada Evidence Act.

As a result, Colvin's lawyer has written to the committee advising that Colvin won't be able to provide documents to Parliament as he was instructed to do last week...

Violating Section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act can be punishable by five years in prison.

Did anyone not see this coming? Oh, and here's your bonus at no extra charge:

Federal Accountability Act Becomes Law
Provide real protection for whistleblowers

* A Public Sector Integrity Commissioner with the power to enforce the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.
* A new, independent tribunal with the power to order remedies and discipline.
* Expanded whistleblower protection for all Canadians who report government wrongdoing.
* More public information on wrongdoing.

I take it you can appreciate the unintentional hilarity.

1 comment:

Duff Conacher said...

To see more details about the federal Conservatives' broken promises on whistleblower protection and open government, go to:

Hope this helps.

Duff Conacher, Coordinator
Democracy Watch