FACE TO FACE: Should Canada accept and use information gleaned from torture?
Ithink the majority of Canadians would agree that we as country should not engage in torture; we should not, under any circumstance, condone it, support it or encourage it.
Moreover, Canada should continue to be a leader at the international level to end torture in other countries.
While my colleague opposite and I agree on this point, we disagree on federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews' 2010 edict to CSIS in which he advised that in "exceptional circumstances," ignoring intelligence simply because it might have been extracted by torture represents "an unacceptable risk to public safety."
The "protection of life and property," he wrote, must be CSIS's "overriding priority."
My colleague says he disapproves of Canada announcing our position the world.
Well, to be fair, we didn't really announce it. Toews' secret two-page directive was obtained by the Canadian Press under Canada's Access to Information Act, and revealed to the public earlier this month. Nevertheless, I do not understand what all the hullaballoo is about.
Do you think other countries are actually surprised that the Canadian government would put the lives of its citizens above everything else?
If Pakistani intelligence tells Canada's spy agency it has a guy saying someone has planted a bomb at BC Place, someone is going to at least have a look around in there, even if it violates one or more international agreements. No responsible government, either here or abroad, is going to ignore such information in a crisis.
Wait a minute - that's any government but a NDP government.
Interim NDP leader Nycole Turmel seemed to imply her party wouldn't use any information from torture, even it meant saving Canadian lives.
"Not only is it immoral to obtain information by torture, but the information is often false or incorrect," she recently told the House of Commons. "We know that a person who is being tortured will say anything to make the torture stop."
If Ms. Turmel is actually saying she would put the information in the shredder without even looking at it, I'm calling BS.
If I'm wrong, we should all be thanking our lucky stars the NDP isn't running the country.
Andy Radia is a Coquitlam resident and political columnist who writes for Yahoo! Canada News and Vancouver View Magazine. He has been politically active in the Tri-Cities, having been involved with election campaigns at all three levels of government, including running for Coquitlam city council in 2005.