Monday, June 08, 2009

Addicted to secrecy

James Bowie has broken another example of the Harper government's addiction to secrecy (now also at the Star). Apparently Jasmine MacDonnell, the aide who was fired over Raitt's brief-fook, had made a tape of a meeting that includes Raitt's unflattering comments about federal health minister Leona Agluukaq and other matters.

According to the Star
Justice Gerald Moir will hear the injunction motion by an as-yet unnamed applicant who is also seeking an order of confidentiality or publication ban. Such an order could block any publication of the identity of the applicant seeking to stop the newspaper from publishing, said spokesman John Piccolo.
Now, it is not especially surprising that the government will attempt to keep the public from hearing a leaked tape. But we are not even going to know who is applying for the injunction?

update More now at the Globe and Mail.
An unnamed applicant wants to prevent the Halifax Chronicle Herald from publishing a story by reporter Stephen Maher. The hearing will determine whether the article will be subject to a publication ban and whether the name of the applicant will remain confidential.

Sources said Ms. Raitt's former director of communications, Jasmine MacDonnell was the applicant in the court hearing to have the story quashed.

Ms. MacDonnell was dismissed from her job last week after a binder of documents marked “secret” relating to the nuclear industry in Canada was left behind at a CTV news studio in Ottawa after an interview with Ms. Raitt.

Dmitri Soudas, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said Monday that the government of Canada was not involved in the injunction.

Some reports suggested that Mr. Maher had listened to a recording, taped by Ms. MacDonnell, in which the minister makes uncomplimentary comments about Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

Liberal MP David McGuinty told the House he has heard that Ms. Raitt had been recorded making disparaging remarks about her colleague, Ms. Aglukkaq, “who she described as not very competent.”

Mr. McGuinty urged Ms. Raitt to say whether that was an accurate description of what is on the tape.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson rose in Ms. Raitt's defence, saying the minister was not party to the court proceedings and reiterating Mr. Soudas's statement that the government was not involved.