Home / Photo of the day: Empty chairs (UPDATED)

Photo of the day: Empty chairs (UPDATED)

Empty chairs, courtesy CBC

Conservative MPs boycotted the Tuesday emergency meeting of the parliamentary committee looking into allegations that Canadian Forces transferred Afghan detainees to torture. The seven Conservative MPs on the Committee left their chairs empty while Opposition MPs tried to figure out what had happened.

This latest stalling tactic comes amidst rumours that Prime Minister Harper may ask that Parliament be prorogued for the second time in two years. Along with killing all the bills before the House of Commons and Senate, a prorogue would have the convenient effect of shutting down the Committee until at least March, keeping Ministers out of the hot seat over the torture of Afghan detainees.

ETA:  ‘Tis not the season to be investigating complicity in torture, it seems.  The Tories are justifying their boycott thusly, according to the Globe and Mail:

The Tories defended their decision by saying there’s no urgency to hold more hearings in the holiday period.

“It’s not the time to be having meetings that are implying, intentioned or not, that Canadians are somehow guilty of war crimes,” [said] Laurie Hawn, the parliamentary secretary for the Defence Minister.

The Conservatives have, of course, been arguing against establishing a public Commission of Inquiry into detainee transfers, stating that the matter should be handled by the Special Committee.  This boycott — and the Harper government’s refusal to provide unredacted copies of relevant documents to the Special Committee, despite a Parliamentary motion to do so — illustrates the emptiness of the government’s commitment to determining whether Canada is knowingly complicit in torture.  And this is precisely why we need a public Commission of Inquiry immediately.