Cullen applauds document-release order as “win for democracy”
April 27th, 2010 - 4:23pm
OTTAWA – Today’s ruling by Speaker Peter Milliken that the federal government breached parliamentary privilege with its refusal to produce uncensored documents regarding Afghan detainees sets an important precedent and confirms the powers of Parliament, says Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.
“This is a win for democracy, there’s no doubt about it,” Cullen said from the lobby of the House of Commons this afternoon.
During his lengthy ruling, Milliken ordered the government to produce uncensored documents relating to the treatment of Afghan detainees within two weeks. The government must work with parliamentarians to come up with a release strategy that safeguards national security and provides meaningful information.
Cullen noted all MPs have been flooded with emails and phone calls from constituents outraged at the arrogant manner of the Harper government in dealing with serious allegations relating to the treatment of Afghan detainees.
“Today’s ruling is a stern reminder the Prime Minister is not a king – he must respect the will of Parliament,” Cullen said, recalling the January rallies held across Canada, including in Skeena-Bulkley Valley, to protest Stephen Harper’s second widely unpopular prorogation of Parliament in 13 months.
“The Speaker clearly indicated today that the Prime Minister’s behavior will not be tolerated, an important step in reigning in Mr. Harper’s unaccountable approach to this and other issues.”
Cullen said he is now looking forward to working with Parliament to make sure documents relating to treatment of Afghan detainees are delivered in a manner that allows MPs to get to the bottom of the troubling issue.