Sunday, December 14, 2008

RailGate Revival - Let Freedom Reign!



The never ending Basi-Virk pre-game ritual briefly started shooting sparks again late last week.

And, according to Mr. T., Bill Tieleman, a lot of the fireworks revolved around 'Freedom'.

'Freedom of Information' that is:

Referring specifically to documents the defence obtained through FOI requests to the premier's office, (Robert Virk's Lawyer Kevin) McCullough made this allegation:

“There was leaking that was un-attributable to Basi and Virk. Did Basi and Virk even leak documents to the lobbyists? That’s a live issue,” McCullough charged.

“The FOI documents show other individuals were doing that,” he continued, without naming anyone in the premier's office.

Obfuscatory leaks?

Coming from the Premier's office?

Designed to manipulate the media and public opinion?

Why, I'm shocked.

Shocked I tell you that even one of those hundreds of very finest-of-the-fine OIC-appointed members of the flack-hackery would ever even consider engaging in such acts!

Or that their paymasters would encourage them to do so.

Oh, wait.



Regardless, how does the government of Mr. Gordon Campbell, a government that is known to have acted in a blatantly obfuscatory manner in the past, plan to deal with this latest truckload of potentially bad news/information that was obtained by the Basi/Virk defense team via a legitimate use of the 'Freedom of Information' act?

Why, by blocking the release of such news and information after doubling-down and invoking the retroactive use of the already used 'Freedom of Information Act, of course.


Here's Mr. T. again with that part of the story:

....release of the FOI materials - which provincial government lawyer George Copl(e)y said may be opposed on the basis of "cabinet confidence," "solicitor client privilege," "third party financial information," and/or "unreasonable invasion of personal privacy" - all relevant sections of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

But just in case that doesn't work, Mr. Copley has also decided to make a fuss about the irrelevance of it all:

The hearing also heard examples from Copley of what kind of documents the defence has obtained from the premier's office and how the FOI Act severing of information may be handled.

"This is an email message from Michelle Leamy in the premier's office to several people," Copley told Bennett, referring to Campbell's Director, Executive Operations.

At a later point Copley discussed another email from the premier's office as an example.

"This is from [inaudible name] to Martyn Brown. Section 22 - personal information [would apply] - it attaches a resume and talks about that person. The whole resume is severed," Copley said, referring to Campbell's Chief of Staff.

Now, back in the good old days when Mr. Copley could claim things like 'lawyers' privilege' while hiding behind 'protocols' handed to secretaries working for the man with many hats and get away with it, spouting inanities like those cited above would likely have been enough to sway both the court's and the public's opinion (or at least the great majority of Lotusland's pro-media commentators including those of, apparently, Mr. Norman Spector).

However, this time around gorgeous George might just be in a little trouble on that front.


Because of the new guy in court, our man Lou.

But a further possible flaw in the process came when Lou Webster, who has been nominated as part of a court protocoal on review the FOIs, explained his role. Webster said he reviews all the documents produced by the government and indicates where the government has removed information he believes may be relevant.

And Webster indicated that the examples Copley gave the court were not typical of the documents he believed should not be severed.

"These documents are a very poor example of what I was opposed to redacting," Webster told Bennett, adding that he believes it will take her about 10 days to review the government and BC Rail documents.

Go ahead....go and read that statement by Mr. Webster, above in red, again.

Isn't it refreshing to read an entire declarative sentence uttered by an officer of the court in this case that is so absolutely free of codswallop?

Maybe now we're finally getting somewhere.


I think you will all agree that this has been another bit of in-depth reporting by Mr. Tieleman that truly serves the public. Sure will be interesting to have a listen to see if this becomes a topic of discussion between Mr. T. and Mr. Spector on the Goodship Watercarrier's radio show tomorrow/Monday morning @ 10am.
Oh, and just in case you missed it, BC Mary has been all over all kinds of RailGate and RailGate-Related/Relevant happenings recently. Go read her too!


No comments: