Interesting bit on one of my least favourite MoCo Weekend programs, 'The 180', yesterday resulted in this summary:
Consider this statement: "This matter is before the courts and I'm not going to comment on the specifics of the proceedings." It's the type of thing politicians tell journalists, and other politicians, saying they can't answer a question, because the issue is before the courts.
But Lorne Sossin, the Dean of the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, says that while keeping your mouth shut during a trial might often be a good idea, it is not the get-out-of-jail free card that politicians seem to think it is.
"I'm often struck by how rarely journalists ask the follow-up question, 'What about the matter before the courts could constrain you from asking the question I've asked?', or at least get an elaboration on the scope in which a politician can answer questions."....
I remember one particular 'It's Before The Courts!' day in RailGate history (circa 2009), like it was only yesterday...
First, from our Hansard-assisted report of what went down in the Ledge in which the good Mr. Oppal went full-on Stonewally and refused to respond to absolutely anything about everything, including (surprise kids!) BC Hydro, because of the then still pending BC Rail Trial:
J. Horgan: Well, let's try a privatization scheme that's not yet before the courts. In 2003 Patrick Kinsella's organization, according to their own resumé, did the following: "Did a survey of the landscape and interviewed a number of stakeholders in the British Columbia government and B.C. Crown corporations and determined that the best opportunity for Accenture was B.C. Hydro."
Now, the minister of defence took this question on notice last week. So I'm hopeful that the Minister of Energy has been prepared for this, and he's able to stand in this place today and advise this House what role Mr. Kinsella, what role Mr. Martyn Brown from the Premier's office, had in the privatization to Accenture.
Hon. W. Oppal: Those questions I expect will be answered by (RailGate's then presiding judge) Madam Justice Bennett
Mr. Speaker: Member has a supplemental.
J. Horgan: It's curious to me how the Attorney General can stand in this place and tell us that B.C. Hydro is now before the courts...
And second, two minutes of absolute gold captured by a camera wielded by none other than the then proprietor of Public Eye, the now professor Sean Holman, just outside the Ledge chamber (please note how all of the proMedia members concerned actually really do the real thing, which is one of the reasons I found it so memorable):