So, there’s an actually pretty predictable story on Global News which says that “Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has criticized the redactions in the National Security and Intelligence Committee’s report on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ill-fated trip to India … [and] … On Monday, Scheer tweeted an image that showed a section of the report with redactions up and down the page …
… “The security report on Justin Trudeau’s disastrous trip to Indian was ‘released’ today. Unfortunately the Trudeau Liberals got to it first and redacted most of the information. So much for transparency,” he wrote.” Ho-hum, that’s about what I would expect Andrew Scheer to say …
But there is a little bit at the very bottom of the story that frightens me: “Security sources told Global News’ Ottawa bureau chief Mercedes Stephenson that they believed the Prime Minister’s Office redacted the report to try and transfer the blame for security lapses to the RCMP, CSIS and other intelligence agencies … [and] … The sources said they have repeatedly requested changes to security protocols, but don’t believe the PMO takes the matter seriously enough.“
Now, I know Ms Stephenson slightly, socially, and I know that she has some excellent, high level ‘sources’ in the government, especially in the military, intelligence and security communities. I suspect that her ‘sources’ are good and, therefore, I also fear that their worries are real and well founded … and that ~ redacting reports for purely partisan political reasons ~ is, most certainly, NOT what I expect from Canada’s prime minister.
Let me be clear, it is very right and proper for the government, usually the Privy Council Office, to redact documents in order to, as “Liberal MP David McGuinty, who chairs the National Security and Intelligence Committee, wrote [in the letter covering the report] that the report “was revised to remove content that was deemed injurious to national security and international relations,” in line with section 21(5) of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) Act.” The government has legitimate secrets, things that, if said in public, would injure our national security and would cause misunderstandings with foreign nations ~ some of the things that officials, including military officers, write and say, as advice to the government really do need to be kept secret. Neither you nor I nor even Andrew Scheer has any need and certainly no ‘right’ to know those things.
But some things are just embarrassing.
Wanting avoid embarrassment as we head towards a national general election campaign is perfectly understandable; wanting to shift blame away from one’s close circle of friends and confidants and towards faceless bureaucrats is also understandable. The “wanting to” is understandable but if that crossed the line into editing a report then I believe that the government has committed a grave error.
I do not know the truth … but the fact that a journalist like Mercedes Stephenson thought it necessary to add that bit to a story about Andrew Scheer’s predictable, political outrage suggests that there’s more here than we are being told. Let us all hope that Mr Scheer and those media outlets that are not, already, bought off by Justin Trudeau’s money will keep this alive until we know more.