Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Three cheers for the Federal Court...and maybe four

Item 1: In early March, the Federal Court ordered the Harper government to seek clemency for the Canadian on death-row in Colorado, Ronald Smith. In doing so, the court rebuked the Harper government for its arbitrary clemency policy: 
"The decision by the government of Canada to withdraw support for Mr. Smith was made in breach of the duty of fairness, is unlawful and is set aside,” Judge Barnes said. “In the absence of any new clemency policy, I am ordering the government to continue to apply the former policy of supporting clemency on behalf of Canadians facing the death penalty in any foreign state to Mr. Smith.”
Item 2: Last week, the Federal Court ordered the Harper government to request the repatriation of Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay.

Item 3: Cut to today, more news from the Federal Court:"Court denies Ottawa's bid to thwart Afghan detainee hearings."
Efforts to thwart public hearings into allegations that Canada knowingly transferred prisoners to likely torturers in Afghanistan were dealt another defeat yesterday by a federal court judge who denied the government's application for an indefinite stay.

“The last thing the government wants is military officers testifying publicly about Afghan detainees and the risk of torture,” said Paul Champ, the lawyer representing rights groups that filed the original complaint with the Military Police Complaints Commission.

MPCC public hearings are scheduled to begin next month, although the government may still seek to have them delayed or cancelled. It says the MPCC has overstepped it mandate.
Can't help but think that the loud debate going on in the U.S. may be influencing the court here. Our government clearly wants to sweep the issue under the rug but the court appears to be having none of it.

Care to go for four, Conservatives? They might want to cut their losses on that in and out thing before the Federal Court bites them again...