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The Affair, the Inquiry, the Aftermath



The Affair, the Inquiry, the Aftermath

Summary The Maher Arar affair can be divided into three components: the scandal of a Canadian citizen’s “extraordinary rendition” from the United States to a year of torture in a Syrian prison; the public inquiry under Mr. Justice Dennis O’Connor into the complicity of Canadian officials; and the aftermath of the inquiry reports, including the impact on the government of Canada, on national security policy and on Canadian society. The Commission of Inquiry experienced difficulties concerning the public disclosure of information, some of which were resolved by the Federal Court only after the Commission had reported. Mainly through closed hearings and a thorough examination of classified documentation, however, the Commission was able to answer satisfactorily all the questions of fact that lay within its mandate. By the time the inquiry’s factual report was released, public opinion was strongly supportive of its recommendations, which the government endorsed without exception. Mr. Arar was vindicated and offered generous financial compensation. In the aftermath of the factual report, the commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was forced to resign and was succeeded by the first civilian commissioner in the force’s history.

By IRPP Canada.

Humanitarian Policy Resource.