Maybe MacKay needs to have a chat with his communications staff, because the latest revision is a self inflicted wound:
In testimony before the Commons defence committee on Thursday, Mr. MacKay scoffed at the idea that there could be political interference in the censorship of the documents, as opposition critics suggest.
But his department said in an email Friday that the minister’s office is DIRECTING THE LAWYERS in charge of blacking out documents.
"Instructions are given to Department of Justice counsel by the responsible minister and their officials," said an email from Josee Houde, a communications adviser at the Department of National Defence. "In this case, the responsible ministers and their officials are from the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Forces and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade."
Opposition, pointing out the obvious:
The Defence Department’s email is an acknowledgment that political direction was given to those holding the black markers, says NDP MP Jack Harris.
"That certainly contradicts the minister," he said.
Mr. MacKay told the committee that the redactions are done to protect national security, in keeping with federal legislation.
Liberal MP Ujall Dosanjh said the Defence Department has acknowledged that it was acting on instructions from the political level.
"That is a far cry from what the minister pretended was the case before the committee," he said. "He said it’s all done at arm’s length.
I recall MacKay telling us all that the Department of Justice was independently deciding what information should be made available. Completely and utterly untrue, according to this advisor, in fact "instructions" are given to the Department of Justice by the "responsible Minister" and his officials. This means that this claim of arms length contemplation doesn't exist, there is a direct channel between vested interests and redaction. The next question becomes, what were these "instructions"?? It's a pretty flimsy argument to say you don't decide what is redacted, when you've dictated the parameters. It's a cute way to avoid direct fingerprints, even though you've provided the road map.
Judging by the excessive black marker routine and lack of co-operation- referred to as "seemingly Kafkaesque" by the complaints commission- it would appear that the direction was such to render any meaningful disclosure useless. Nobody should be comfortable with this latest omission, because it completely refutes this notion of independent decision making, it suggests a puppet master working the shadows. Imagine the credibility of a process, where military brass and government officials are laying out the parameters for disclosure, and essentially telling lawyers they can only operate in areas deemed acceptable by said people. Those with self interest had a hand in what was released, there is no other conclusion. And, once again, another one of Peter MacKay's counter arguments resembles SWISS CHEESE.