Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Was The Dobell Doctrine Followed In The Boessenkool Investigation?


The FOI minimization doctrine of Mr. Kenneth Dobell, the right hand man of former British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, was invoked early in the days of the Campbell/Clark regime.

Here is how Stanley Tromp called it, in the Tyee, in 2007:

...(T)he insidious shift towards "oral government" is growing. E-mails must be preserved and accessible under FOI laws. A debate is looming over Blackberry records. Yet the premier's multi-tasking assistant Ken Dobell startled an FOI conference in 2003 by announcing frankly that "I delete my email all the time as fast as I can." (then Privacy Commissioner David) Loukidelis later reprimanded Dobell for publicly admitting he avoids taking notes so they aren't uncovered by reporters under FOI...


Fast forward to late September of 2012....Current premier Christy Clark suddenly announces her own right hand man's resignation two weeks after an incident that led to said resignation, and then immediately justifies the delay by stating that she had to wait for an 'investigation' to play out. Here is how the Canadian Press called it at that time:

...Clark defended her decision to conduct a two-week investigation into the incident rather than suspend or fire (her former Chief-Of-Staff Ken) Boessenkool immediately.

"We went out to get all the facts that we could gather," said Clark, adding she had a number of conversations with Boessenkool about the investigation as it progressed.

"Everything that was done was absolutely to the letter required by government," she (Ms. Clark) said....

Hmmmmm.....An investigation!....Ya, that's the ticket.


Fast forward a wee bit more to yesterday (i.e. late October 2012) when Jonathan Fowlie of the VSun and Bob Mackin of All-Points-Bloggodome received the fruits of their very recent FOI request labours (ie. 9 full years after the invocation of the Dobell Doctrine documented above) regarding any and all records of the investigation into Mr. Boessenkool's actions cited by Ms. Clark a month ago.

And, guess what....

Those fruits turned out to be completely non-existent.

In fact, there was not even one fully redacted sour apple in the FOI crates of either Mr. Fowlie or Mr. Mackin because there were NO records handed over whatsoever.


Later yesterday the Ms. Clark's own office confirmed that fact, as Mr. Fowlie made clear in his VSun piece:

...A spokesman for the Premier’s office confirmed Monday (Oct 29, 2012) that no documents were created during the probe, saying all interviews and reports were done verbally....


That's some FOI-minimization doctrine that Dobell Doctrine.

So....Did such an investigation actually occur, given the lack of actual physical evidence?....Well, the VSun's Vaughn Palmer was told orally, by the person who supposedly headed the investigation, the big boss of the Public Sevice Agency, Ms. Lynda Tarras (who was appointed just two days after Ms. Clark was sworn in as Premier), that she did indeed carry out the investigation in question, and that she reported the results of said investigation directly to the very same Premier who appointed her....Gosh...Could this be why Ms. Clark doesn't like spending anytime in Victoria?....After all, it would appear that the Campbell/Clark regime has constructed a Village that looks, walks and quacks (but never, ever writes apparently) like a duck called.....Potemkin...
Thanks very much to a sharp-eyed Anon-O-Mouse who mentioned, in the threads, that (s)he was in the room for the invocation of the DDoctrine (twice!) and thus jogged our memory...
And, yes, just in case anyone suddenly finds that they are vaguely thinking of Milo Minderminder and Colonel Cathcart....Catch-22 is one of our favourite books...Not to mention one of our favourite movies...



North Van's Grumps said...

Shall we stop "reading" here and just click listen to this link I found two days ago? You'll hear, see, the stammering answer of the Leader of the BC Liberal Party.

"I cannot answer any of the questions, I just can't do it." - Christy Clark duly recorded by the Province via a VIDEO!

RossK said...

Thanks NVG--

Very telling, even if not 'written'.