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See you in September (?)

The latest dust-up at the MPCC over document disclosure from the Department of Justice looks to derail the next few weeks of hearings. The hearings were initially scheduled to be concluded by May 12, but now could be delayed until the summer, or even the fall.

Commission chair Stannard in hearings today. Image: Globe and Mail

This morning, MPCC lead counsel Ron Lunau informed the Commission that it appeared that documents were being “weeded out” of government disclosures to the investigation. He expressed concern that information could be held back by the DOJ “so that we never become aware of its existence.”

Last week, the evening before CEFCOM Political Advisor Gabrielle Duschner was set to testify, the DOJ informed Commission counsel that it still had not disclosed documents relevant to her testimony. Yesterday, Mark Wallace, counsel for Capt. (N) (ret’d) Steven Moore, argued that given the ongoing document disclosures by the DOJ and the delay in evidence from certain witnesses (such as Ms. Duschner), the subjects of the investigation should not be compelled to testify before all that evidence is in. Paul Champ, counsel for the BCCLA and Amnesty International, tried to keep the hearings somewhat on track. He suggested that the Commission could hear from non-subject witnesses, and may need to recall some witnesses if new evidence surfaces.

Based on these submissions, the Commission ruled this morning that while it will attempt to continue hearing from witnesses over the next few weeks, the subjects (who were scheduled to testify starting next Monday) will be rescheduled for a later date.

When will that date be? Presumably, it will be after the DOJ has delivered documents pursuant to a number of outstanding requests. Fresh off yesterday’s spat with the Commission over the timing of document disclosure, Alain Prefontaine, counsel for the DOJ, was able today to provide a timeline. According to Prefontaine, the DOJ will make disclosures on a rolling basis, and that the last set should be ”good and ready” by the end of June.

So for now, the witness schedule is in a bit of disarray.  We’ll bring you an update when we have it. For now, some appropriate music for the wait: