The RCMP and torture

The Canadian Press reports that directives have been issued to the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency to explain how the agencies can use information when torture might be involved.

As with the directive to CSIS, the instructions from Mr. Toews to the RCMP and the border agency apply to information sharing with foreign government agencies, militaries and international organizations. They say Canada “does not condone the use of torture” and is party to international agreements that prohibit torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

The directives add that “terrorism is the top national security priority” of the government and it is essential that the RCMP and border agency maintain strong relationships with foreign entities and share information with them, as well as with domestic agencies. They say that in “exceptional circumstances” the RCMP or border agency “may need to share the most complete information in its possession,” including information foreign agencies likely obtained through torture, “in order to mitigate a serious risk of loss of life, injury, or substantial damage or destruction of property before it materializes.” “In such rare circumstances, ignoring such information solely because of its source would represent an unacceptable risk to public safety.”

This follows a similar directive to CSIS that was obtained by CP last February. See this post for the history of this issue and the Harper government’s positions.

See previously: Security and torture, The government’s tortured answers on torture, The wild west and Mill v. Kant

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.