Justice Iacobucci will not be empowered to do his job adequately, unless the government gives him the mandate to hold a full public inquiry.
Under the process you have proposed, Justice Iacobucci could review documents provided to him by the government, but he would have no way of getting at the complete picture or even of knowing which documents should be made public.
A public inquiry would give him the power to demand materials from the government, to call witnesses and to subpoena testimony. An inquiry could establish the facts and make recommendations for the future.
Accordingly, I am writing to urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to appoint a full public inquiry, in accordance with Part 1 of the Inquiries Act, to report to Parliament and Canadians, in a timely manner, on the transfer of detainees in Canadian custody from 2001 to the present.
Note the unnecessary reference to "2001 to the present" which takes a decidedly non partisan perspective, regardless of regime.
I see this letter as perfect pitch, in the sense that the Liberals are endorsing Justice Iacobucci, but only within a full judicial review. This posture leaves the Conservatives to defend half measures and ambigious direction. With recent developments, the calls for a public inquiry will grow, so in essence the Liberals stay ahead of the Conservative stall tactics. Anything less than accepting a public inquiry, under Iacobucci's direction, again creates the impression of wanting to hide, a lack of accountability and transparency, last week's move by Nicholson fails to take the issue off the near term table.
This response leads to a basic question, which Conservatives can never reconcile- if you have acted in a legally and morally acceptable fashion, if these charges are baseless, then you should have NO fear of a full public disclosure, you really should welcome it. The national security arguments are muted, because Iacobucci has already dealt with these consideration in previous postings, a public inquiry will not threaten as argued. To ignore the Liberal request will only increase suspicion, and in a strange way, force the calls to grow louder. It really has become a "kicking and screaming" scenario, the more resistance, the more concern rises. The Conservatives have already lost many normally friendly allies, and this is a testament to the absurdity of thwarting investigation while simultaneously dismissing the validity.
The Conservatives are fighting common sense at this point. The Liberal response keeps the pressure on, without summarily rejecting. In fact, they've embraced this proposal, but put it in their own terms. A good response.