Where does the “public” fit into the equation?

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Shortly after I blogged that victims will finally be taking the stand next week along came an inquiry Press Release.  The Press Release is posted on the Media page (scroll down.  A direct link to the release at the inquiry site below). 

A few comments:

(A)  According to the Press Release “The Cornwall Public Inquiry will begin hearing testimony from victims and alleged victims (the evidentiary hearings) next week.”  And according to the website five witnesses are scheduled for next week.

HOWEVER, the Press Release then notes that hearing commence at 2pm Tuesday 03 October with “preliminary remarks” by Justice Normand Glaude followed by opening statements from lawyers representing each of the parties with standing

There are thirteen parties with standing!  

(1) Cornwall Police Services Board and the Cornwall Community Police Service

(2) Ontario Provincial Police, Commissioner Gwen Boniface and Commissioned

(3) Officers of the Ontario Provincial Police Ontario Provincial Police Association

(4) The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services and Adult
Community Corrections

(5) Attorney General for Ontario

(6) Children’s Aid Society of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and
Glengarry

(7) Citizens for Community Renewal

(7) Victims Group

(8) Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall and Bishop Eugéne LaRocque

(9) Father Charles MacDonald

(10) Mr. Jacques Leduc

(11) The Men’s Project

(12) The Upper Canada District School Board

(13) The Estate of Ken Seguin & Doug Seguin (for Phase II)

I would be amazed to see this taken care of by week’s end, which for the inquiry is  Thursday.  Two and a half days? 

And unless Father Charles MacDonald has had a change of heart I would anticipate that sometime next week – if not first thing Wednesday afternoon – his team will be filing some sort of motion related to his intent to appeal the Ontario Divisional Court ruling.

So I do think the chances of hearing from any witnesses next week, let alone five, are pretty slim.

(B)  This is supposed to be a “public” inquiry.  But note the renewed focus on  “confidentiality”

Members of the media are reminded that there have been revisions to the media protocol with regard to witnesses and their testimony during the evidentiary hearings. The protocol will also address confidentiality issues involving in-camera hearings, non-publication of names and/or testimony, and media notification relating to in-camera hearings and/or ban on publication requests.

Where does the “public” fit into this equation? 

© Not a boo in the Press Release about translation services or the lack thereof!  Perhaps I misunderstood the following notice posted on the Cornwall Public Inquiry Media page?

Broadcast quality pool composite video feed (from 3-4 fixed and one active camera) and balanced XLR audio feed will be available in both official languages beginning next year and in the language in which representations are made for the November hearings. Outlets will be located in the media room (8 video and 16 audio)

Is this “public” inquiry going to provide translation services to ensure that all members of the public can follow the hearings, or is it not? 

As I say, where does the “public” fit into the “Cornwall Public Inquiry” equation?

Enough for now,

Sylvia
(cornwall@theinquiry.ca)

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