Section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act governs access to documents concerning international relations, national security and/or national defence;
Sub-section 38.01(8) empowers Cabinet to authorize entities to seek and receive documents in uncensored form in a schedule to the Canada Evidence Act;
Scheduled entities currently include the Privacy, Public Sector Integrity, and Information Commissioners; the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP; military boards of inquiry under the National Defence Act; and the Security Intelligence Review Committee under the CSIS Act – to name only some;
The Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) is not included in this schedule despite MPCC commissioners and lawyers having high-level security clearance no different from personnel of these other entities;
Like these other entities, the role of the MPCC is crucial for democratic accountability and the rule of law; and
In previous Parliaments, the government refused to provide the MPCC with some uncensored documents relevant to proceedings on the treatment of Afghan detainees and the Cabinet declined to exercise its authority under s.38.01(8) to allow the MPCC full access to information.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to reject the approach of previous governments and, accordingly, to exercise its authority under section 38.01(8) of the Canada Evidence Act to designate the Military Police Complaints Commission as one of the bodies permitted unfettered access to documents.
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