I wonder if the Harper government has really thought this one through.
A security certificate issued against Hassan Almrei was thrown out by Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley in December of 2009. Almrei then filed a civil suit against the government and asked for a summary judgement on the basis that Mosley's ruling was sufficient to make his case. Lawyers for the federal government argued that Mosley's ruling had nothing to do with any claim for damages and that the matter should be subject to a full trial. An Ontario Superior Court ruled with the feds and the matter is now before an Ontario Court of Appeal.
If this ends up going to a full trial I would expect it to figure fairly prominently in the news cycle for a while. It would draw renewed attention to the reasons the certificate was quashed. As reported here:
Mosley found no evidence [Almrei] had ever been a member of al-Qaeda, and that the government relied on outdated information against him some of which might have been obtained through torture.
If you go back to a report at the time of Mosley's ruling, you'll find this:
In today's ruling, Judge Mosley had tough words for the secret evidence prepared by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in the Almrei case, saying it was outdated and misleading.
"That is clearly incompatible with the duties of good faith and candour which the court expects from the service and its ministers," Judge Mosley said.
The Justice doesn't question why suspicion was originally focused on Almrei but is highly critical of the way CSIS and the government have pursued the case in recent years.
As federal officials were compelled by court decisions to release more information, it revealed "surveillance and intercept reports that contradicted human source reports on which the service and the ministers relied," Judge Mosley wrote.
He said the latest [Security Intelligence Report], filed in 2008, was "recycled stale information without attempting to offer a more balanced and nuanced view."
Does the Harper government really want the media to revisit this and remind everyone of the criticism that the security certificate regime, and CSIS in particular, has faced every time one of these cases ends up in court? And that's not to mention another reminder of the role torture may play in the evidence CSIS relies on to make these cases. Maybe I'm wrong but you'd think that if all of this is repeated often enough, sooner or later something will stick to someone.
And incidentally, I wonder if Stockwell Day was reminded of the existence of a Federal Court ruling describing conduct "incompatible with the duties of good faith and candour which the court expects from the service and its ministers" when he testified last week. He was one of the ministers to which the ruling referred.