Officials from all parties are meeting on Monday in what could be the final bid to reach a deal allowing a small group of MPs to see records on the transfer of detainees in Afghanistan.
The Bloc Québécois and the NDP are threatening to wreak havoc with the legislative agenda if there is no agreement. The goal of the discussions is to put flesh on the bones of a May 14 deal that came after the opposition parties threatened to vote the government in contempt of Parliament.
The Conservatives have responded to some of the opposition parties' concerns, but have tried to create a loophole allowing Ottawa to withhold some documents on the grounds they are "not necessary or appropriate for the purpose of holding the government to account."
NDP Leader Jack Layton said a Speaker's ruling in favour of Parliament's rights must be respected. He threatened to launch a debate in the House on the matter that would take precedence over budget issues, including approving funding for the G8 and G20 summits.
"What we could do is focus the debate on this fundamental question of getting the documents that people need to get a look at," Mr. Layton said on CTV's Question Period. "That could produce a debate in the House that would override any of the other debates, including the release of funds."
The Prime Minister's Office responded that it was still "hopeful" that a compromise could be reached, but insisted that the new deal will have to respect issues such as national security.
"The session is coming to a close, so there is certainly a heightened awareness to try and find an agreement," said PMO spokeswoman Sara MacIntyre.
Over the weekend, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff vowed to engage in constructive negotiations.
"There's absolutely no reason why we can't get an agreement. I'm optimistic we can, but it's getting a bit late," Mr. Ignatieff said.