For 36 hours or so last month there was some interest in the review of documents related to the detention and transfer of detainees in Afghanistan. In short, the judges responsible for determining—after investigation by the MPs on the review committee—what could be publicly released decided nothing would be released while Parliament was dissolved. The Conservative side said it supported the release of documents and Michael Ignatieff called for something to be done to make that possible, but apparently nothing ever came of it.
On that note, I queried the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday. Those questions and a spokesman’s answers were as follows.
Q: Does the committee [charged with reviewing Afghan detainee documents] still exist?
A: The Panel lost its status when the election was triggered by the opposition.
Q: Does it need to be reformed when Parliament reconvenes? If so, will the Prime Minister recommit to the initiative?
A: The memorandum of understanding provides that the process can be reinstated when Parliament reconvenes.
Q: Will the judges’ report be released? If so, when?
A: During the campaign, we indicated our support for releasing the report. We still support this release.
Finding the answer to my second question to be vague, I followed-up—and they responded—as so.
Q: The memorandum of understanding provides for the process to be reinstated if “the leaders of the governing party and each opposition party with recognized status … sign a Memorandum in the same terms in the next Parliament.” Is the Prime Minister ready and willing to sign on as so? Further, is it the government’s position that all recognized parties in the House have to sign on or could the process be restarted with, for instance, the agreements of the Conservative and Liberal parties?
A: Given the changes to the composition of the House, these are discussions that are best held after the House resumes sitting. And I reiterate that we support the judges’ report being released.