The Conservative government has quietly given Canada’s national police force and the federal border agency the authority to use and share information that was likely extracted through torture.
- Newly disclosed records show Public Safety Minister Vic Toews issued the directives to the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency shortly after giving similar orders to Canada’s spy service.
- The government directives state that protection of life and property are the chief considerations when deciding on the use of information that may have been derived from torture.
- They also outline instructions for deciding whether to share information when there is a “substantial risk” that doing so might result in someone in custody being abused.
- As key members of Canada’s security apparatus, both the RCMP and border services agency have frequent and extensive dealings with foreign counterparts.
- The directives are almost identical to one Toews sent last summer to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service — instructions that were roundly criticized by human rights advocates and opposition MPs as a violation of Canada’s international obligations to prevent the brutalization of prisoners.
- Each of the directives is based on a framework document — classified secret until now — that indicates the information-sharing principles apply to all federal agencies.