Friday, September 22, 2006

On weak responses

Not surprisingly, the Cons have responded to the Arar inquiry by immediately pushing toward all the recommendations which would tie other groups' hands, while doing as little as possible themselves. While the RCMP is set to undergo significant reforms (potentially including the ouster of Giuliano Zaccardelli), the Cons' response in dealing with the U.S. can only be described as pathetic.

First, there's Peter MacKay looking for an excuse to spend more time with Condi without actually filing the formal complaint recommended by O'Connor J.:
One of the judge's recommendations was that Ottawa file a formal protest with the U.S. and Syrian governments over Arar's treatment.

MacKay didn't endorse that idea Thursday, but neither did he shut the door on it.

He said he's had discussions with Conoleezza (sic) Rice, the American secretary of state, and added that more talks may be forthcoming.
And then there's Stockwell Day, whose request to have Arar's name removed from the U.S.' terror watchlists couldn't have been more timid and unconvincing:
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said Thursday that he has nudged the Americans to remove Maher Arar's name from their no-fly list after a public inquiry unequivocally cleared him as a terror suspect.

Day's appeal to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security - which he hinted was a gentle suggestion rather than a demand - comes after the Canadian government removed Arar and his family from a border watch list that is used to keep tabs on terrorism suspects.

"We have removed the Arar family name, and that of his wife, from any lookout list and passed that information on," Day said under questioning in the House of Commons.

"Also, we have sent an indication that the United States may wish to do the same."
And those are the governmental recommendations where the Cons have apparently done anything at all, as there hasn't been any apparent word on eliminating profiling in information-gathering or on clear lines of accountability within the government.

Again, it shouldn't be any great surprise that the Cons are utterly unwilling to follow any recommendation that involves showing some spine in discussions with the U.S. But the Cons' disinterest in making a meaningful statement shows all the more that entirely willing to continue unquestioningly the political culture that led to Arar's torture in the first place. Which may make it only a question of when, and not whether, more innocent Canadians will end up suffering the same fate as Arar.

No comments:

Post a Comment