First, were the Liberals were informed by CSIS about the CIA's role in the extraordinary rendition of Arar so as to warrant Harper's blame?
Canada's spy agency suspected, within two days of Maher Arar's deportation from the United States, that the CIA had shipped him somewhere to face possible torture, newly released documents show.
But there's no indication, in the paper trail made public Thursday, that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service alerted its political masters at the time - an oversight that critics say smacks of tacit collusion in the ordeal Arar ultimately faced in Syria.
Marlys Edwardh, one of the lawyers for Arar, said it doesn't appear, from the evidence she's seen, that CSIS ever shared its suspicions about the CIA's role in the affair with the Liberal government of Jean Chretien five years ago.Despite such lack of evidence, Harper's unconstrained and unconcerned about making such links. Harper has the nerve to do this, despite his own government's complicity in apparently covering up the mess:
"They did absolutely nothing," said Edwardh. "Where's the memo to cabinet, where's the memo to the prime minister, to the solicitor general?
"The only thing you can draw from this is that they (CSIS) are making sure that this policy of rendering people - outsourcing interrogation in circumstances when someone is going to be tortured - is something they supported."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on a trip to the Arctic, noted that he's already raised the Arar case with Washington but dodged the question of whether he would renew that effort, or consult CSIS, in light of the latest findings.No regard for the seriousness of the matter will stop Mini Bush from taking the low road partisan shot, whenever an opening permits.
Harper also attempted to shift the blame for what happened to Arar to the previous government, saying his aim is to "ensure that the events that occurred under the Liberals are not replicated for other Canadian citizens."
Justice Dennis O'Connor, who headed the inquiry into the case, tried to include a description of the 2002 CSIS suspicions in his report last year.
The material was withheld from public view at that time because of claims - by lawyers for Harper's government - that it could undermine national security, international relations or the defence of Canada.
Those contentions were rejected by a Federal Court judge, who ruled last month that the information should be released.
Despite his protestations that he's all about ensuring that such matters never happen again, he's all too happy to keep the information secret. Not sure we should expect anything else from Harper. Telling the truth to the Canadian people about the CIA's role in the Arar affair and CSIS's knowledge of it would only serve to further elucidate for Canadians the nature of the U.S. government's terror practices and further undermine the opinion of the Bush administration in Canada. That's not something we should expect Mini Bush to enable, is it?
Does Harper support CSIS's suppression of its knowledge about Arar's rendition, from its political oversight, or not? Or is he going to ensure that situation never develops again? Good questions being posed today. This is definitely a matter for the House to take up when it resumes.