Wednesday, September 20, 2006

More sorry excuses

The CP reports on the Cons' not-so-surprising unwillingness to argue in favour of PMS' refusal to apologize to Maher Arar. But needless to say, the Cons' failure to be so brazen as to continue trying to justify Arar's torture (as they did in opposition) hasn't led to any progress in Harper's actual position:
Maher Arar finally has a unanimous apology from the House of Commons for his detention and torture in Syria.

But a senior Conservative minister insisted Wednesday that he and other cabinet members were expressing their personal feelings by joining in the move — not necessarily speaking for the government...

The confusion arose after the Bloc Quebecois presented a motion stating that “in the opinion of this House an apology should be presented to Maher Arar regarding the treatment he has been subjected to.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had repeatedly refused to offer such an apology on behalf of the government since the release of a public inquiry report that cleared Arar’s name Monday.

But the Tories, apparently fearing political embarrassment, gave their consent Wednesday after the Liberals and NDP signed on to the Bloc motion...

NDP Leader Jack Layton welcomed Tory support for the motion but called it “unfortunate” that Harper couldn’t be present in the House when it passed.

“I hope that he will now, in writing, convey his sense of apology on behalf of all the citizens of Canada as the prime minister,” said Layton.
Ultimately, PMS' continued refusal to apologize in his capacity as Prime Minister may only keep Arar's plight - and the recommendations arising out of it - in the public eye longer than the Cons would like. But either way, it's a shame that it took an opposition motion to bring about any form of parliamentary apology...and it's to the Cons' discredit that they're still splitting hairs to avoid offering the same formally on behalf of the government.

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