What’s a screwdriver?

Vodka and orange juice is one……
…..the Government of Canada is too.

….another pause in prison postings…..

“What does it take…..” from May 20 earlier this year focused on the federal government’s attempts to bedevil Abousfian Abdelrazik’s lawsuit against Canada and CSIS for its neglect back in 2003 and the years following. In it, we published a letter to Ralph Goodale.

The Justice Department walked away from a mediation session at the 11th hour and referred media to Public Safety Minister Goodale for comment. The government opted to let Mr. Abdelrazik’s action go to court, a move that “will cost us all more in the end, and looks to be a safe political option to deflect criticism of a pre-emptive settlement,” we wrote. There was no response from Mr. Goodale.

A trial date for this $27 million claim was set for September 14, later rescheduled to the 17th.

Then came a Toronto Star story late in August suggesting that “as many as 35 witnesses could appear during the eight-week proceedings in Ottawa,” including Liberal and Conservative MPs and senators. One notable exception who was refusing to testify was Peter Harder, the Liberal government’s representative in the Senate, a former deputy minister of foreign affairs. He was invoking his legal privilege as a senator to avoid appearing in court.

The article went on to underscore that while the federal government settled lawsuits against Canada for its role in the imprisonment abroad of Maher Arar, Omar Khadr, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmed Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin as examples, it had abruptly cancelled mediation talks with Abousfian Abdelrazik and his lawyers.

We sent Senator Harder a brief letter criticizing his decision to excuse himself from “the right thing to do.”

But, this Canada, our country, had a surprise for Mr. Abelrazik.

The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail published similar columns from their respective Ottawa bureaus on September 19. “Judge halts man’s case against CSIS, feds,” said the Star, complimenting the Globe’s “Judge agrees to delay torture lawsuit.”

Justice Martine St-Louis “reluctantly” decided on the previous day to indefinitely delay the trial, granting the Crown’s request for a “long-term adjournment.” The Crown argued the trial should be put off while another court undertook a “national security” review of the 5,500 redacted documents that had already been released to Abdelrazik. The judge did order federal lawyers to provide monthly reports on how the review was progressing and granted Mr. Abdelrazik’s legal team “all costs in preparation of the trial that have been thrown away” because of the adjournment.

This stall tactic is fueled by the politics of fear, and is most certainly not “the right thing to do.”

What’s a screwdriver? Look to Ottawa.


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