Wednesday, April 21, 2010

If Harper went to law school

More rule of law tragicomedy at the Military Police Complaints Commission yesterday, conveying the government's attitude toward the Afghan file and this commission's investigation:
The Military Police Complaints Commission has asked the government to turn over reams of documents, including a former foreign-service officer's reports of torture allegations in Afghan jails.

Nicholas Gosselin's reports weren't included in the paperwork already turned over to the military watchdog. Word of their existence emerged when Gosselin testified at the hearings last week.

Acting commission chair Glenn Stannard asked government lawyer Alain Prefontaine when the hearing might get Gosselin's stack of reports.

"Documents will be turned over to the counsel when they're good and ready," Prefontaine replied.

Stannard admonished Prefontaine over that remark: "I find that close to offensive, not only to this panel, but also to the public."

The government lawyer later apologized. (emphasis added)
What to say, what to say. This rule-of-law-spectacle that the Harper government is putting on these days continues to amaze. The government lawyer has all the information, the chair of the commission doesn't have access to it nor do commission lawyers. Hope the Speaker is taking note of all the rule of law effrontery and how it's not working out.

Prefontaine was doing a fine job of channelling the boss. In fact he seems to be the perfect representative of the Harper government. His classic "good and ready" quote yesterday was an evocative stamp for the information challenged Harper era. For example: "You'll get your documents when we're 'good and ready', Kevin Page." "You'll get your documents when we're 'good and ready' access to information peons." Yes, Prefontaine handily conveyed both the attitude of the Harper government about transparency and at the MPCC, the government's view of its superiority over this quasi-judicial tribunal.

The words "Eastern bloc" are coming to mind but we're not quite there yet.