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No justification for review of Afghan detainee papers, says professor emeritus

No justification for review of Afghan detainee papers, says professor emeritus

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed retired Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci to review documents related to the Afghan detainee issue demanded by Parliament, wrote Reg Whitaker, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, in the Toronto Star March 19.

An independent review, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson stated, “will ensure that parliamentarians will have access to the relevant government information on the arrangements for the transfer of detainees in Afghanistan while ensuring there is no injury to Canada’s national defence, international relations or national security.”

Opposition parliamentarians, and Canadians at large, who are tempted to accept this argument, should realize that they are listening to a siren song that will inevitably lead astray the search for the truth about Canadian complicity with detainee torture.

There is no justification in legal or constitutional terms for the Iacobucci appointment under Nicholson’s terms of reference, or indeed under any similar terms of reference.

Iacobucci has accepted a task which neither he nor any other person of however high repute and qualifications has any business doing. Not the prime minister, nor the justice minister, nor a Supreme Court judge can be the appropriate arbiter of what papers Parliament can order, and enforce release, from the executive, wrote Whitaker.

The rest of the article is available on The Star's Web site.