Why won’t Prime Minister Harper remove Arthur Porter from the Privy Council?

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Harper could remove the disgraced former head of Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) from the highest level of government, the Privy Council.

“Although he appears allergic to accountability, with the stroke of a pen Prime Minister Harper could demonstrate to Canadians that he actually takes the Arthur Porter debacle seriously and remove him from the Privy Council,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands.  “The fact that the Prime Minister has allowed Porter to retain his Privy Councilor status and maintain his access to Canada’s secrets shows a shocking disregard for the seriousness of this situation.”

In 2008, at the request of the Prime Minister, Arthur Porter was appointed to the Privy Council and the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), which is charged with the oversight of Canada’s intelligence agencies and privy to our national top secret information.  Two years later, in 2010, Porter was promoted, again at the request of the Prime Minister, to Chair of the SIRC.

“We understand that Mr. Porter’s health has deteriorated, and we wish him a swift recovery. But the fact remains that the appointment of Arthur Porter to the SIRC, first as Member then as the Chair, is perhaps the most shocking failure of judgment and due diligence in Canadian history,” said May.

“Although the Prime Minister has repeatedly claimed that the allegations against Mr. Porter have no bearing on his time with the SIRC, Canadians have been left scratching their heads that this man, who now claims to be a citizen of Sierra Leone and refuses to return to Canada to answer charges of corruption, gained complete access to all of Canada’s top secret intelligence. 

“I call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to immediately remove Arthur Porter from the Privy Council of Canada.”

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Media Contact:
Kathleen O’Hara