'Why is the government refusing to have a public inquiry to lay to rest some of these allegations?'

Apropos of Abousfian Abdelrazik (remember him?) and the questions still unanswered, here is the text of questions posed by Stephen Harper for Prime Minister Jean Chretien on Nov. 5, 2003.

Maher Arar was imprisoned and tortured in a Syrian prison. Canadian officials may have been involved in his deportation. Yesterday in an all party committee of the House, members of all parties basically unanimously demanded that the government hold a public inquiry into this situation. Why is the government refusing to have a public inquiry to lay to rest some of these allegations?

Mr. Speaker, it is completely acceptable that we would get the facts from other countries but we should be getting the facts from our own government of its role in this case. Consular officials visited Mr. Arar in New York and Syria, yet somehow the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Solicitor General all refused to accept any responsibility. What is the government hiding? Why does the government refuse to disclose all of the facts of its role in this case?

Mr. Speaker, on this side we are prepared to have a public inquiry to get to the bottom of the truth. The government should be prepared to do exactly the same thing. Mr. Arar, members of the opposition and members of the government are asking for a public inquiry. The Prime Minister’s own whip says that no stone should be left unturned. I believe the Prime Minister’s successor will hold a public inquiry if he does not, so will the Prime Minister, for the benefit of all of us–

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