October 1, 2006
Minister Day favours role for Parliament in overseeing security operations

Public Safety minister Stockwell Day. (CPimages/Tom Hanson)

OTTAWA (CP) - Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day says he favours greater parliamentary oversight of national security operations to make sure nobody else suffers the same fate as Maher Arar.

Day said he thinks MPs have a role to play in monitoring both the RCMP and CSIS. But he says the members of any oversight committee would have to be sworn to secrecy on the operational details of security matters.

Day was more ambiguous on whether there should be a civilian review committee to keep tabs on the RCMP.

He noted there is already an independent body that is supposed to handle that function - the RCMP Public Complaints Commission.

But former chair Shirley Heafey has publicly complained the commission lacks the clout to hold the Mounties to account.

Arar was arrested by U.S. authorities in 2002 and deported to Syria, where he was tortured into false confessions of terrorist activity. A public inquiry has blamed the RCMP for passing erroneous information about him to the Americans.