The Harper government is surrendering its "unilateral control" over the secret Afghan detainee documents, say the Liberals, reaching a deal, however, that has only been agreed to by them and the Bloc Québécois.
The NDP refused to sign on, accusing the government this morning of a deal that would not allow all of the documents to be made public, including legal documents and cabinet records. They argued that as a result, Canadians would never get to the truth of whether Afghan detainees were subjected to torture. The NDP is calling for a public inquiry.
Not the Ignatieff Liberals, however.
They referred to the NDP concerns as "horsefeathers."
In fact, the Liberals are hoping to sign the agreement with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe later today.
And they want the process to begin as early as next week.
"This is a victory for us. It's a victory for democracy," said Liberal Justice critic Dominic LeBlanc, in a hastily called press conference this morning.
Liberal House leader Ralph Goodale says he believes this agreement will safeguard national security and Canadian troops.
It allows for a three-person panel of eminent jurists - the opposition has a veto over who sits on this panel - to first review the documents. As well, each party has two MPs on the committee.
Former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion and Toronto-area MP Bryon Wilfert are the Liberal representatives.
The expert panel can be challenged as to why it believes a document should remain secret, such as for reasons of cabinet confidence or military intelligence.
Mr. Goodale said he believes the government has negotiated in good faith, but if it is seen not to be working, the Liberals will simply walk away and "blow the process up."
As for the NDP, Mr. Goodale dismissed their concerns as "horsefeathers."
"They have been trying to make this process a failure from the beginning," charged Mr. Goodale.
And Mr. LeBlanc said that the NDP decision means they will be cut out of the process, risking "being in a parking lot outside" while the documents are being revealed.
The Liberals noted that the agreement has the approval of the vast majority of MPs in the Commons.
The NDP accused the Ignatieff Liberals and Bloc of agreeing to a compromise that "undermines the right of Parliament to hold the government accountable."
The NDP decision comes after a meeting last night in which the government and the opposition parties tried again to find a way to release the documents without compromising national security and the Canadian military.
It had been telegraphed earlier by Leader Jack Layton and NDP Justice critic Joe Comartin, who seemed increasingly frustrated with the way in which the negotiations were or were not proceeding.
Mr. Layton accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper Monday of purposely stalling and delaying the negotiations.
House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken had ordered the Harper government show the opposition the documents relating to potential abuse of Afghan detainees.
He ruled that Parliament was supreme and set a deadline for the parties to figure out a way for their public release - that was almost seven weeks ago.
The NDP says it will put forward a motion in the House today that "respects the terms of the Speaker's ruling while protecting national security concerns and the safety of our troops."