CBCnews

Harper pleased with Afghan document deal

Last Updated: Friday, May 14, 2010 | 11:54 PM ET

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he hopes \Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he hopes "everyone will be satisfied" with the deal. (Clement Allard/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he's satisfied with the agreement on the release of Afghan detainee documents.

In St-Félicien, Que., for a funding announcement, Harper called the deal "reasonable.

"I believe it meets both our objectives: obviously to abide by the Speaker's ruling but also — and this is extremely important — for the government to protect our legal obligation to keep confidential certain documents," he said.

"I do hope that it will work and that everyone will be satisfied with the arrangement."

The Conservative government and the opposition parties reached a compromise earlier Friday. A committee of MPs, who would be required to take an oath of confidentiality, will be able to review uncensored documents to determine their relevance.

Documents deemed relevant would then be passed on to a panel of experts who would determine how to release the information to all MPs and the public "without compromising national security."

The documents are at the centre of accusations that prisoners were tortured by Afghan authorities after being handed over by Canadian troops. The government maintained that releasing the documents posed a threat to national security and the security of Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announces the agreement on Afghan detainee documents in the House of Commons on Friday.Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announces the agreement on Afghan detainee documents in the House of Commons on Friday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson tabled the deal in the Commons on Friday afternoon.

"In your ruling on April 27, you were confident that members of Parliament of all parties could come to an agreement," Nicholson told Speaker Peter Milliken. "I just want you to know that confidence was not misplaced.

"It's an agreement that complies with Canadian laws, it does not compromise national security and it does not jeopardize the lives of Canadian men and women who serve in uniform."

Liberal House leader Ralph Goodale told the Commons that "the participants in the talks over the last 2½ weeks have all tried, I believe, to get it right."

The agreement came hours before the extended deadline agreed to by the Speaker. He had ruled that MPs had the right to see the documents, and he gave all parties two weeks to reach a compromise that would protect national security.

The all-party committee asked for an extension until Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Had an agreement not been reached, the government could have faced a contempt of Parliament motion, which could have triggered an election.

  •  
 

Video

    Canada Headlines

    Residents flee growing blaze north of Edmonton
    Residents of a rural area north of Edmonton were told to leave their homes on Sunday as winds shifted, causing an out of control brush fire to spread.
    Walkerton marks 10th anniversary of tragedy Video
    The town of Walkerton, Ont., marks the 10th anniversary Sunday of the tainted water tragedy that killed seven people in the spring of 2000.
    Cyclist killed in Laurentian Mountains
    Another cyclist has died on Quebec roads — a 57-year-old man who was struck by a car in the town of Val Morin in the Laurentians on Saturday.
    Farmers' net income to nosedive in 2010
    Agriculture Canada says realized net income for farmers across Canada is expected to total $291.5 million — a 91 per cent drop from 2009.
    Shot reporter glad to be alive: parents
    The parents of a Calgary journalist who was shot and wounded in Thailand say their son is glad to be alive.

    People who read this also read …

    Top CBCNews.ca Headlines

    Headlines

    Thai army crackdown to continue Video
    Rapid gunfire and explosions echoed before dawn Monday outside the luxury hotels bordering the barricaded protest zone in Bangkok after Thai authorities rejected an offer from protest leaders to take part in UN-mediated peace talks to end the chaos.
    Tube diverts some leaking oil Video
    Engineers began using a newly installed riser pipe Sunday to siphon oil leaking from a damaged well deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico to a vessel on the surface.
    Walkerton marks 10th anniversary of tragedy Video
    The town of Walkerton, Ont., marks the 10th anniversary Sunday of the tainted water tragedy that killed seven people in the spring of 2000.
    Thai general tied to protesters dies: reports
    A renegade army general who worked for Red Shirt protesters has died of gunshot wounds inflicted by a sniper last week, according to Thai news reports.
    Ash cloud clogs northern U.K. skies Video
    A dense cloud of volcanic ash drifting from Iceland has prompted officials to close airports in northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.