Friday, February 23, 2007

Did Harper Break His Own Anti-Terror Provision?

This guy thinks so:

University of Ottawa professor Errol Mendes said Harper's identification of a man reportedly on an RCMP witness list goes against a confidentiality requirement under Anti-Terrorism Act powers he wants to maintain.

"The prime minister is blowing to pieces the integrity of these provisions," said Mendes.

Of course, Mr. Dain's name had already surfaced in the Vancouver Sun article, but the difference between its appearing in a local tabloid and getting blasted out to the national media during Question Period by the PM himself is considerable.

Lets just quickly review this, shall we? The Liberals are being accused of opposing anti-terrorism provisions because the father-in-law of one of their MPs was "potentially" on a confidential list of witnesses to be interviewed in the ongoing (for over 20 years) criminal investigation of the Air India disaster. A list which, on the other hand, may not exist. Pretty thin stuff.

Mr. Navdeep Bains, the MP in question, seems to be a class act and will not pursue an apology from Harper any further. Others should not be so accommodating.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmm, manipulating intelligence for partisan reasons. Where have I heard that before...

Eugene said...

Not that I support what Harper might have trying to do, but he never identified anyone.

From Hansard: "I am not surprised, given what I am reading in The Vancouver Sun today, when I read this how the Liberal Party makes decisions: “The Vancouver Sun has learned that the father-in-law of the member of Parliament for Mississauga—Brampton South--”. And then he gets shouted down.

If the Liberals let him go on and read that the father-in-law was a possible witness then there might be something to this.

bigcitylib said...

Eugene,


"...the father-in-law of the member of Parliament for Mississauga—Brampton South..." idenftifies him well enough, unless Dains has multiple fathers.

Anonymous said...

you can have my straw to grasp with as well.

Amanpreet Singh said...

The investigation of this heinous crime has been hampered by the negligence of the security agencies or interference by the Canadian government in the 1980’s. We all know about destruction of some Air India related evidence by CSIS in 1985 but very few of us know that tampering with Air India file occurred in 1990’s as well. Check Globe and Mail from 26 February 2003 and read story by Robert Matas about testimony by a retired RCMP officer at Malik/Bagri trial. I quote from the story, :”Mr. Drozda, a retired RCMP officer who worked on the Air-India case from 1985 to 1992

During Mr. Drozda’s testimony, the court also heard that an unidentified person had tampered with two boxes of sealed documents from the Narita trial.

The boxes, stored at Vancouver RCMP headquarters, contained copies of documents setting out information disclosed to Mr. Reyat’s defence lawyers during the Narita trial.

Mr. Drozda testified that the boxes were sealed in 1992 after the trial. But on the day before he testified in the Air-India pretrial hearing, Mr. Drozda discovered the seal was broken. Some material had been removed and other material had been inserted, he said.”

Eugene said...

The point is he didn't identify the father as a potential witness. That might have been his plan, but he never did due to the shouting down.

Anonymous said...

NO ONE should be referring to this - not even the Sun.

The fact that the Sun carried this story is enough for the PM to not refer to it.

He didn't have to if it's in the paper and considering his pretense to be protecting Canadians he should include the rights of Canadians.

He goofed - no if ands or buts about it.

The question was about the "appointment of judges" and had absolutely nothing to do with this. He "deliberately" referred to this when it wasn't even the question presented to him.

It was deliberate.

bigcitylib said...

But since the news article identified him as a potential witness,in fact that's the gist of the article, Harper's intent in reading the article would be to have identified him as a potential witness. Whether a slander charge might hold up in a court is not the issue. Harper's intent was clear.

Red Tory said...

The hair-splitting and denial by the Conservatives over Harper's stunt on Wednesday is really quite amazing. The PM (or anyone else for that matter) shouldn't be peddling innuendo in the House. That Harper's allegation was abruptly pre-empted by the reaction from the Liberal benches does allow the Cons to correctly say that "nothing was said" but it's clear to any sentient person where Harper was going...

One could argue that was a tactical blunder on the part of the Liberals; that they should have allowed Harper to keep digging. The outrage and indignation that followed has been a bit over the top and needs to be toned down.

What the Liberals should be doing now is insisting that the government find out who in the RCMP leaked the information about the witness list to Kim Bolen. This was a clear breach of Darshan Singh Saini's privacy rights and is especially concerning in this case as witnesses have been harassed, intimidated and even murdered (allegedly) in the past. As Dion pointed out this is one reason why the provision should not be extended.

It should also be noted that Saini has been a co-operative witness in the past and has indicated that he will testify if asked. So what was to be gained by disclosing his name and putting him in a compromising, even possibly dangerous position? Very odd.

Eugene said...

I'm not arguing the intent. In fact, given the chance, I'm sure he would have read the whole thing. I'm saying Mendes is wrong since he states Harper actually identified the father-in-law as a potential witness. It's clear that never happened.

Anonymous said...

Why does the extreme left-wing Liberal dominated Senate support it? Why did Dijon support it up until a few weeks ago? Even Liberals want these questions answered.

Harper shouldn't have mentioned it in Parliament, there was no need.

Anonymous said...

Ask Sarwan Singh Randhawa what he thinks.

saskboy said...

"The point is he didn't identify the father as a potential witness."

He did though, you don't have to use an explicit name to identify someone, when you say "person x's father".

Harper was playing fast and loose with information of importance to national security. He should have known better.

wilson61 said...

Yet another diversionary theme to avoid the real question.
On what grounds is Dion FORCING a nay vote on the extension of the ATA clauses?

In 2004, the clause survived a Charter challenge, the SCoC ruled it constitutional.

No Liberal has come out to defend the decision, they will defend PARTY unity, but NOT the DECISION.
(except Marlene Jennings, who said 'we are the party of the Charter'; see above to discount that position)

Anyone want to defend Dion's decision here? [silence]

bigcitylib said...

Wilson61,

I suppose the whole "innocent until proven guilty" clap-trap cuts no ice with you?

wilson61 said...

BCL
'In 2004, the clause survived a Charter challenge, the SCoC ruled it constitutional.'
I am sure our SC Judges considered 'innocent until proven guilty' before they ruled.

The clauses have been ruled constitutional, so why is Dion forcing his MPs to vote against the extension?

It's a simple non-partisan question BCL.

bigcitylib said...

Wilson,

I would direct your attention to here

http://www.canadasdebate.com/2007/02/23/defending-dion/

for a whole list of defenses of Dion on this issue.

Emily said...

The Liberals' vote against extending those clauses seem to be supported by today's decision against security certificates. I'm with Amnesty International and the others supporting this decision: our Charter of Rights demands open accusations and trials. We must not agree to extremely secretive procedures. Racial profiling is rampant in the US and growing in Canada.
Individual rights can even be violated in our Parliament. A brown man was targetted. A brown man wearing red. A brown MP in religious garb, a red turban. By a PM discussing law. Yech!

Anonymous said...

This is off-topic, but does highlight how Harper and his cons think:
Tories hide Pearson's Nobel Prize for the Mackay/Rice/Mexico meeting:

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070223/pearson_award_070223/
20070223?hub=Canada

How weird is that? Are Nobel prizes not for the new NAU?

Anonymous said...

"Racial profiling" - what a joke. Because Islam is a religion, ANYBODY could be a muslim terrorist. White, black, brown, yellow. That may look like a harmless 60-year old Scotish lady, but maybe she has a shoe-bomb in her orthopaedic inserts. Check her. And that redheaded mother of two freckle-faced youngsters doesn't necessarily have to be Catholic, or is she IRA? Strip search and check her water bottles. There is no reason at all to suspect anyone of colour or with an Islamic sounding name because the vast majority of Muslims (80%) DON'T believe that terrorism is justified.

When are these knobs gonna learn? ANYBODY could be a terrorist. Like that white guy that bombed the gov't building 20 years ago. Right?

Red Tory said...

It seems some folks here are forgetting that the Liberals’ support for extension of the sunset provisions was contingent on them having their powers restricted somewhat with amendments to provide more balance for civil liberties as was recommended by the subcommittee that reviewed the legislation last October. The Conservatives ignored these amendments and ploughed ahead with the legislation “as is” ignoring the will of parliament. This is what caused Dion to withdraw the Liberals’ support. It should also be noted that the Senate’s recommendation to extend the sunset provisions is likewise contingent on having the subcommittee’s amendments adopted. Let’s get our facts straight here.

ian said...

The information was already out in the media via the article.Does that mean that everyone who read the article would break the law if they talked about it?
Give your heads a shake!
It was reported that the journalist had spoken with the Liberal minister and the party prior to production, so nice acting jobs all around.