Jennifer Moreau of Burnaby Now has posted online a press release on this topic today:
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. The City of Vancouver is undergoing a probe by B.C.’s information and privacy commissioner, and it has come out that Vancouver has similar practices of deleting e-mails, circumventing FOI inquiries.
Ms. Moreau writes:
The province is appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham’s recent report to government. Great news, considering the awful state of our access to information laws in B.C.
When reporters file freedom of information (FOI) requests, they’re often delayed getting back to us, most of the content is greyed out, and sometimes we’re just told there are no records. There are a couple years worth of backlogged complaints. Let’s hope this investigation improves things.
BELOW IS TEXT OF THE MEDIA RELEASE BY THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT
November 19, 2015 15-23
Appointment of Special Prosecutor
Victoria – The Criminal Justice Branch (CJB), Ministry of Justice, announced today that Greg DelBigio, QC has been appointed as a Special Prosecutor to provide legal advice to the R.C.M.P. in relation to an investigation arising out of Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham’s recent report to government.
As disclosed in the report, the Information and Privacy Commissioner referred information to the R.C.M.P. for investigative consideration. This information related to a request for access to records that was made of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the alleged conduct of an individual who was employed as a Ministerial Assistant at the time of the request.
On November 10, 2015, the Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Justice Branch, M. Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten, QC (the ADAG), received a formal request from the R.C.M.P. that she consider the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to provide police with legal advice during the course of their investigation.
The ADAG concluded, based on the request and the information available to her about the alleged circumstances of the case, that the appointment of a Special Prosecutor is in the public interest. Under the Crown Counsel Act, the ADAG will consider appointing a Special Prosecutor where some aspect of an investigation, or prosecution file, carries a significant potential for real or perceived improper influence in prosecutorial decision making. A Special Prosecutor works independent from government, the Ministry of Justice and the CJB.
On November 13, 2015 the ADAG appointed Mr. DelBigio as Special Prosecutor in the matter. He has been given a mandate by the ADAG to:
- Offer such legal advice to the investigative agency as may be necessary in the circumstances;
- Conduct an independent assessment of any Report to Crown Counsel (RTCC) that may be submitted and make the charging decision he deems appropriate in the exercise
– See more at: http://www.burnabynow.com/opinion/blogs/community-conversations-1.752422/province-appoints-special-prosecutor-to-investigate-following-privacy-commissioner-s-report-1.2115392#sthash.1Okv3VhW.dpuf
For more commentary on the topic, see this online post by civic affairs watcher Laila Yuille
I love how the government appointed this prosecutor on November 13th… and didn’t issue a press release until today – after the fall legislative session has ended. No questions, again.
It will be interesting to see how and where this investigation goes. Keep in mind in the case of the alleged deletion of the Ministry of Transportation emails by George Gretes, that occurred in November 2014.
Full background on this entire story, including the questions still standing on the appointment of Loukidelis, here: http://lailayuile.com/2015/11/12/complicit-or-incompetent-questions-continue-to-pile-up-for-the-premier-who-continues-to-ignore-them-all/