Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reformers Use Stall Tactics to Avoid Accountablity

The ongoing story of the hostile takeover of Canada's Rights and Democracy Agency, by the Harper government, just took another turn.

Reformer Jim Abbott is now filibustering the committee looking into the matter, to avoid hearing from a key witness. The widow of the man who may have suffered a heart attack as a result of the actions of our government.

OTTAWA - Conservative MPs are preventing the grieving widow of former Rights and Democracy president Remy Beauregard from testifying at a Commons committee.

Suzanne Trepanier has requested permission to appear at the Foreign Affairs committee to defend her husband's record and provide her version of
events that she believes contributed to Beauregard's fatal heart attack following an agency board meeting in January.

Rights and Democracy, an arms-length, taxpayer-funded agency, has been in turmoil for months as factions on the government-appointed board battled
over three small grants to Middle East rights-monitoring groups that are critical of Israel.

But the committee must first agree to the witness list and Conservative Jim Abbott has begun a filibuster to prevent the issue from coming to a vote.

Critical of Israel. That's all it takes these days.

We also learned from the lawyer for Amnesty International, Paul Champ, that the stall tactic of the Reformers to pay a retired judge and corporate lawyer, $ 600.00 an hour to decide whether they have to abide by our Constitution, could take up to two years.

In the meantime, there is still a serious threat that detainees are still being tortured.
OTTAWA -- Canadian Forces should not transfer Afghan detainees to Afghan-run prisons because they currently face a "serious and substantial" risk of torture, Amnesty International lawyer Paul Champ warned Wednesday.

Champ also predicted it could take government-appointed former judge Frank Iacobucci two years or more to review the disclosure bans by government lawyers on hundreds of documents related to detainee transfers.

He told MPs at a House of Commons committee that while they are studying allegations of torture of transferred detainees in 2006-07, "there still remains the risk of torture" today.

It's time to put an end to this nonsense. Parliament is the highest court in the land, and they are legally entitled to see all documents. It doesn't matter what anyone says to the contrary.

And if that means hauling Stephen Harper out in handcuffs, then so be it. I'm getting sick of this.

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