Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Afghan Documents: The Speaker's Ruling

After providing an exhaustive review (45 minutes of background, precendents and rulings) of the case of whether Harper's government had breached parliamentary privilege by censoring and delaying the release of the documents related to questions about whether Afghan detainees handed over to Afghan officials have been tortured, speaker Milliken ruled against the government.

Milliken gave the government 2 weeks to come up with a compromise acceptable to the opposition on dealing with the handling of classified documents. If they can't, the speaker will intervene again and may accept a ruling of contempt of parliament - a very significant warning which could ultimately bring down this government.

He stated that it was not acceptable (and, paraphrasing, was basically insulting) to suggest that elected members of parliament should be seen as threatening national security by having access to those documents.

He also ruled that McKay's office did not intimidate possible witnesses by penning a letter, via the justice department, outlining their duties. However, he said that if a case is presented that shows that an actual witness did feel intimidated, he will consider it.

Regarding the government's excuse that handing former justice Iacobbuci the job of deciding which documents should be released, Milliken ruled that since that is a parallel process to the house and committee work, it cannot be construed as being an acceptable workaround to the motion the house passed in December to turn over all of the documents.

The government now has 3 choices. It can either comply with the ruling, appeal to the Supreme court or call a snap election via forcing a non-confidence motion.


Afghan detainee records order 'clear': Speaker
Tories have two weeks to release Afghan files

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