E-petition demands inquiry into wartime allegations of Afghan prisoner torture

Canada's exercise in e-democracy is getting its first test as a former New Democrat MP has started an online petition to the House of Commons demanding a judicial inquiry into the alleged torture of prisoners during the Afghan war.

OTTAWA — Canada’s exercise in e-democracy is getting its first test as a former New Democrat MP has started an online petition to the House of Commons demanding a judicial inquiry into the alleged torture of prisoners during the Afghan war.

Craig Scott, who represented the riding of Toronto-Danforth until the Oct. 19 election, says there are still many unanswered questions about what the former Conservative government knew about the suspected abuse of Canadian-captured prisoners.

The parliamentary petition process, which went digital earlier this month, allows people with an interest in federal policy to register their support electronically.

Under the new system, e-petitions that get at least 500 signatures and are sponsored by a sitting MP are formally tabled in the Commons.

If that happens, the government is obliged to provide a written response, posted online, within 45 days.

Earlier this fall, the Rideau Institute released a report that thoroughly chronicled the legal, political and moral controversy over Afghanistan that gripped Stephen Harper’s government for the better part of three years.

Although the report contained no new information, the think-tank also called for a public inquiry, describing the mistreatment allegations as serious, unfinished national business.

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