Day 4 of the Publication Ban
I have now posted the latest exchange between commission counsel Simon Ruel and myself: Mr. Ruel’s email of 27 October ’06 and my response of today, Saturday 28 October 2006. Links to both are posted on “The Poignant Voice of a Vicitm” accessible via The Victims page and elsewhere.
I have asked some questions of Mr. Ruel which I believe demand answers if we are to begin understand how a document which I acquired from a victim and published with his consent and is NOT confidential wound up marked “Confidential” by Justice Normand Glaude and is therefore under a publication ban. (Neither Mr. Lavoie nor I were aware his Victim Impact Statement was “Confidential”)
Mr. Ruel speaks of the document being part of a large document (C-93 ) which Justice Glaude apparently classified in its totality as “Confidential.” I am assuming that the “larger document” of which the Victim Impact Statement is a part is actually a collection of files/documents. I can understand no other way that a 17-page VIS can be part of a larger document. Mr. Lavoie has his copy. It is not part of another document. So, I think possibly the reference to a “larger document” is courtroom lingo. But, I need to find out.
Regardless, the “Confidential” classification which was apparently placed on the “larger document” by Justice Glaude simultaneously and technically classified Mr. Lavoie’s VIS as confidential – even though it is not confidential!
I was ordered to take the document off theinquiry.ca “immediately” – the implication being that I had violated a publication ban and in so doing had posted top secret information on the site. This despite the fact that I had personally acquired the information from Mr. Lavoie who consented to its publication and there is nothing confidential in the document!
I took the posting down. I did so because I was initially unsure if perhaps there were names in the VIS which, though not posted, were deemed problematic and Justice Glaude had determined to keep them out of the public eye, and I also did so because I certainly did not want to get Andre Lavoie embroiled in a legal tussle with the commission. (Neither Mr. Lavoie nor I were aware his VIS had been classified “Confidential.”)
I have since learned that there are no names of other victims anywhere in Lavoie’s VIS. In short, there is nothing confidential about Andre Lavoie’s Victim Impact Statement.
But, it is marked “Confidential” and banned from publication!
This is nonsense!!! I understand busy but I do not understand sacrificing transparency and openness at a public inquiry solely to protect those whom the commissioner thinks may desire privacy and/or anonymity. It is after all supposed to be both an inquiry and public.
I posed several questions to Mr. Ruel. I have a few to blog:
(1) What kind of transparency can we hope for at a “public” inquiry when non-confidential documents are arbitrarily stamped “Confidential” and hidden from the public?
(2) How many non-confidential documents at the Weave Shed are stamped “Confidential”?
(3) Would Mr. Lavoie’s VIS remain “confidential” forever had I not naively and innocently secured and posted excerpts on theinquiry.ca?
(4) IF Mr. Lavoie had his own website would he too be prohibited from publishing his own Victim Impact Statement?
(5) If issuing blanket publication bans (i.e., “Confidential” classification) are the order of the Cornwall Public Inquiry day why are those documents which have been erroneously classified as “Confidential” and marked for use a witness’ testimony not reassessed and declassified in advance to ensure that interested media and public alike can ‘sieze the moment’ and have unrestricted access to those pertinent documents which rightly belong in the public domain?
(6) Under the circumstances why did Mr. Ruel and the commission choose to order me to “immediately” remove the VIS rather than take steps to immediately declassify a document which should never have been classified “Confidential” in the first place? and,
(7) How long will it take the commission to declassify a Victim Impact Statement which can do so much to assist victims struggling through their own private Hell and simultaneously help non-victims to understand the tortured life and prolonged silence of a victim?
This is all truly unbelievable! We the public component in a “public” inquiry are totally at the mercy and whim of judges and lawyers !!!
Alas, under the circumstances and for those familar with Cornwall it’s not a particularly comforting thought 🙁
I have a good portion of Andre Lavoie’s testimony ready to post. I think perhaps I will post it in two stages so part one should be up shortly.
And that’s enough for now,