Friday, April 17, 2015

Did you hear about the time Laureen ..... or young Ben came home .....?

The Selfie Family
Federal government to invoke terrorism clause to keep Harper gamily secrets private

By Stephen Maher
Friday, April 17, 2015

Sergeant Peter Merrifield alleges senior RCMP officers sidelined his career after he launched an unsuccessful bid to run for the federal Conservatives in 2005.

The federal government will invoke a clause used in terrorism trials on Friday as part of its fight to keep information about the prime minister’s family from being made public.

Federal Justice Department lawyers filed a factum on Wednesday that states they will invoke Section 37 of the Canada Evidence Act in an effort to block media organizations from unsealing documents containing allegations that the RCMP leaked secrets about Stephen Harper’s family.

The clause, which was used by the government in an effort to close the hearing of Canadian terrorist Momin Khawaja, was made law as part of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2011. It allows a judge to order that information be kept secret as part of a “specified public interest.”

In the factum filed by federal justice department lawyer Barney Brucker on Wednesday, the Crown says the sealed documents contain “information that, if released, would compromise the public interest.”

The documents were sealed by Justice Mary Vallee at a closed-door hearing at Ontario Superior Court in Newmarket, Ontario in December..

Lawyer Brian MacLeod Rogers will ask Judge Vallee to unseal the documents in Newmarket Friday morning. Rogers is acting for Postmedia News, CBC, Maclean’s and the Toronto Star in this matter.

The documents were filed in December by a lawyer acting for Sgt. Peter Merrifield, who is suing the RCMP for harassment and bullying, alleging systematic abuse and coverups by senior Mounties.

Merrifield alleges senior officers sidelined his career after he launched an unsuccessful bid to run for the federal Conservatives in Barrie, Ontario in 2005. He has been pursuing his case in the courts ever since, repeatedly defeating RCMP attempts to quash it.

When one of Merrifield’s lawyers, John Phillips, entered the affidavit into evidence in December, Judge Vallee expelled journalists from the courtroom and imposed a sealing order.

Sources say the sealed affidavit is accompanied by four letters sent by private investigator Derrick Snowdy to assistant commissioner Stephen White.

In his application, Rogers argues Judge Vallee’s sealing order represents “a breach of the rights of the applicants and their reporters and an infringement of their freedom of expression, including freedom of the press.”

The application is accompanied by affidavits from CBC producer John Nicol and Maclean’s reporter Charlie Gillis, who were prevented by the sealing order from covering the hearing in December when the affidavit was sealed.

The letters from Snowdy are believed to contain allegations about RCMP wrongdoing, alleging repeated information leaks that threaten the safety of confidential informants, and the leak of private information about the Harper family.

Snowdy came to public attention in 2010 when Conservative MP Helena Guergis was involved in the so-called “busty hookers scandal.” She was later cleared after being stripped of her cabinet seat and expelled from the Conservative caucus.

National Post

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