National security adviser to brief committee on Trudeau's India trip
Leader of the Opposition Andrew Scheer rises in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Monday, December 11, 2017. Scheer says he won't accept a private, classified briefing about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's India trip until after an unclassified version of the briefing is presented at committee. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
April 06, 2018 - 12:47 PM
OTTAWA - National security adviser Daniel Jean has made a formal request to appear at a House of Commons committee to brief MPs on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's state visit to India.
Liberal MP John McKay, who chairs the public safety and national security committee, says Jean wrote to the committee to ask to appear and efforts are underway to make it happen as soon as possible.
The earliest date would be April 17, because the House of Commons is currently on a break.
"I have spoken to Mr. Jean, he is keen to appear," McKay said Friday.
Last month, the Conservatives forced the House of Commons to vote through the night on 250 different motions hoping to draw attention to the fact Liberal MPs defeated a Conservative motion to have Jean appear at the committee.
The Conservatives remain skeptical the Liberals won't block the appearance again but McKay said he spoke with the Liberal whip's office and has been instructed to "make it happen."
He is now working with Conservative and NDP MPs on the committee to work through the logistics, including getting an agreement to temporarily set aside the committee's other work.
"There is no emergency, but sooner would be better than later," he said.
Scheer and the Conservatives have been demanding Jean give them the same briefing he delivered to reporters during Trudeau's February trip to India, when he said rogue forces in India who fear Canada was too cosy with Sikh separatists, likely conspired to get a convicted political assassin invited to receptions with Trudeau during the trip.
The invitations to Jaspal Atwal — the second was rescinded after his presence at the first reception was leaked to the media — helped turn Trudeau's India visit into a fiasco.
Jean gave the media briefing as an anonymous government official, but his identity was later made public by the Conservatives.
The government offered to give Scheer a confidential briefing instead, but he refused. The Conservatives have said they believe Jean may have given classified information to the media, something the government steadfastly denies.
Scheer said this week he would hear the Jean briefing as long as MPs and the media could be present for the non-classified portions.
The Conservative leader said Friday he will only schedule the private briefing after Jean appears at the committee.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2018