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National Defence delay on torture directive delay suggests internal challenges

OTTAWA - The Defence Department has spent four years drafting a directive on foreign information-sharing — an ongoing delay that points to internal difficulties fleshing out a federal policy many have condemned as condoning torture.National Defence is one of five federal agencies covered by a 2010 government framework policy that allows officials to seek and share information from foreign partners, even when it may put someone at risk of brutal treatment.The Canadian Press reported last month that Defence was refusing to share the full text of a draft ministerial directive intended to spell out how the military would put the framework policy into practice.The department now says that's because it is still working on the directive — a process that began as early as 2011.Efforts continue even though memos from April 2013 show the chief of the defence staff, Tom Lawson, and then-deputy minister Robert Fonberg presented the draft directive to Peter MacKay, defence minister at the time, recommending MacKay approve it. The federal policy on foreign information-sharing has drawn sharp criticism from human rights advocates and opposition MPs who say it effectively supports torture, contrary to international law and Canada's United Nations commitments.Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter

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