Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How say you Mr. Ombudsman?

Good Day Readers:

We've been keeping an eye on another source of possible political headache for Mr. Toews the Anonymous YouTube video.
Posted earlier this month (March 2) it now shows 7,073 visitors.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Appeal sought of Toews getting name of file viewer

By Mia Rabson
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

OTTAWA - A Manitoba man is asking the provincial ombudsman to appeal a court decision allowing Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to find out who asked to view the court file for his divorce.

Last week, Justice Rick Saull of the Court of Queen's Bench in Manitoba ruled Toews should be allowed to know the names of people who applied to see the divorce file since the information in the file was used to create mischief for Toews.

A Liberal staffer tweeted details from the file using the persona @Vikileaks30. He was initially anonymous but was eventually outed after an investigation by the federal Speaker's office.

Rarihokwats, who uses only one name and has acted as a consultant for Manitoba First Nations, said Saull's decision was wrong. Divorce files are public court records and as such, people should be able to view them without a public record of the viewing being made, Rarihokwats said.

"The court's ruling sets a very dangerous precedent with wide application," he wrote in a letter to acting ombudsman Mel Holley on March 9.

Rarihokwats said he fears Saull's ruling will be used to allow people to find out who seeks other public information available, such as library books.

He said by the same reasoning Saull used, the courts could compel people to register when they wish to attend a trial or court hearing in person.

He said he has no personal interest in the case other than as a citizen concerned about invasions of privacy.

Toews' request to the court came as the Conservative tried to provide @Vikileaks30 was not just the whim of a single person but a conspiracy by the Liberals as a whole to discredit the public safety minister. The government has called the staffer to testify at a Parliamentary committee in an attempt to investigate the matter. Adam Carroll was to appear today but his lawyer reported he is too ill to attend.

The only person listed as applying to access Toews' file was a provincial NDP staffer. Thomas Linner viewed the file at the request of the federal NDP on February 17, several days after @Vikileaks30 began posting details on Twitter. The federal NDP wanted to see whether the Vikileaks posts were accurate after the federal Conservatives blamed the federal NDP for being behind the Twitter account.

In his decision, Saull said people who make mischief with the contents of court files should be accountable and it was unfair to Toews that his personal information was revealed without being able to know who had access to the information.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

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