New access to information documents were just released to the public about Joshua Boyle's visit to the Prime Minister's Office on December 18, 2017.
Joshua Boyle is a Canadian-born former Taliban hostage who was formerly married to Omar Khadr’s sister Zainab.
After divorcing Khadr's sister, Boyle got his talons into an American girl named Caitlan Coleman. After a strained and bizarre long-distance courtship, the pair eventually married in 2011. Then under somewhat unclear circumstances in 2012, Boyle took his then-pregnant wife on a backpacking trip through Afghanistan where they were promptly taken hostage by the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network and held hostage for five years.
Then, in October 2017, Pakistani security forces acting on American intelligence intercepted a car transporting the couple and their children born in captivity, and they were freed. After making their way back to Canada, the family met with Justin Trudeau.
Just two weeks after that meeting, Boyle was arrested and charged with 15 criminal offences including sexual assault, uttering death threats, and misleading police. And all of the offences were alleged to have taken place in Ottawa between October 14th and December 30th, 2017 — before and after he was welcomed with open arms into the Prime Minister's office.
Well, 32 pages of secret briefing documents were released as part of the Federal Government’s proactive disclosure of completed access to information requests. The information is heavily redacted — however, the redactions themselves tell a story.
Information is withheld using several exemptions in Canada’s information laws, including those that protect the personal privacy of the subject matter (in this case, the subject matter is Joshua Boyle), information that could be used in the commission of a crime, national defence, international affairs, and cabinet confidentiality.
In the documents, prepared by Trudeau's former national security advisor, Daniel Jean, for former Chief Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick, Jean notes Boyle’s use of creative storytelling in his accounts of the rescue, and references the public controversy that still swirls around why the Boyles were in Afghanistan in the first place.
The documents included several redacted pages because they contained “records for the purpose of which is to brief ministers of the Crown in relation to matters that are before or proposed to be brought before Council or that are the subject of communications or discussions” or are “records used for or reflecting communications or discussions between ministers of the crown on matters relating to the making of government decisions or the formulations of government policy.”
What policy was cabinet discussing to deal with Boyle? He was already home. Were they going to give Joshua Boyle $10 million just like they did for Omar Khadr?
Or did that all fall apart after Boyle was arrested for sex crimes? Unfortunately, for now, that’s a secret.