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Ministerial secrecy invoked to not provide documents to Judge Hogue

Photo: Adrian Wyld La Presse canadienne « Le premier ministre et le gouvernement ne cachent rien à la Commission Hogue », s’est défendu en comité parlementaire le ministre fédéral de la Sécurité publique, Dominic LeBlanc, jeudi, à Ottawa.

Opposition questions will remain unanswered for the summer. Testifying before a parliamentary committee on Thursday, federal Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc and National Security and Intelligence Advisor to the Prime Minister Nathalie Drouin declined to say how many Cabinet documents were withheld under the ministerial secrecy in the investigation into foreign interference.

Earlier this month, the annual report of the Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security and Intelligence revealed that the federal government is attempting to avoid disclosing information by “inappropriately” withholding more than a thousand documents.

“The Committee is concerned that that certain departments and agencies may inappropriately claim that information is Cabinet confidence to avoid disclosing it to the Committee,” the document read.

Since then, the opposition parties have asked the Liberal government to disclose how many documents it refused to provide as part of the investigation.

Minister LeBlanc and Ms. Drouin both explained that the investigation led by Judge Marie-Josée Hogue had received four long memos. But neither wanted to give a precise figure on the number of documents retained.

“The Prime Minister and the government hide nothing from the Hogue Commission, Minister LeBlanc defended himself in committee. The editorials that you referred to and again, if colleagues want technical explanations, Ms. Drouin, I'm sure she can provide them. The withholding of documents concerns professional secrecy between client and lawyer or Cabinet secrecy. It is a fundamental principle of our Westminster parliamentary system.”

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In its report, the Committee mentions “more than 1000 documents withheld” or whose disclosure was refused, in whole or in part because they were Cabinet confidences.< /p>

Conservative MP Michael Cooper said it was “staggering” that this government, which had promised to be open and transparent with the Hogue commission, was now refusing to provide the documents which the judge says she needs to complete her work.

Ms. Drouin said breaking or relaxing rules that protect ministerial secrecy in order to respond to allegations of foreign interference would be a victory for bad actors trying to interfere in Canadian politics.

The saga should resume when the parliamentary session resumes in Ottawa in September. Judge Hogue's final report is due at the end of the year.

With The Canadian Press

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116