We will respond positively to probe panel recommendations, says Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Candian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday assured family members of victims of the 1984 Air India Kanishka bombing that the government would respond “positively” to the recommendations made by an inquiry committee and said compensation would be offered to all.

Mr. Harper met the families of the victims, mostly of Indian-origin, hours after the report was made public.

Government spokesman Dimitri Soudas told the families at a special meeting that the government would respond “positively” to recommendations made by the panel headed by Justice John Major.

In an earlier written response, Mr. Harper said his government launched the inquiry “to bring closure to those who still grieve and to ensure that measures are taken to prevent such a tragedy in the future.”

“We thank Commissioner Major for his work and once again extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends for the loved ones they lost,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Major said his report was so important that the government should also establish an oversight or watchdog body to ensure that his recommendations were implemented.

Inquiry lawyers said the changes would not necessarily incur “astronomical” costs.

Counsel Mark Freiman said the proposals were not aimed at creating a new bureaucracy, but “we need to find a higher level of decision-making” when the legitimate interests of, say, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police collide.”

He said a “lack of effective decision-making and information available” was key to the sequence of actions that failed to prevent the crash.

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