Friday, April 10, 2015

The Harper diaries coming soon?

Good Day Readers:

How fitting if the inner secrets of the Harper family are soon revealed. The National Post's Christie Blatchford the other day described Mike Duffy "as a guy with no limits in a place with no rules." Will Stephen Harper be shown to be the same? Perhaps the Duffy-Harper alliance wasn't so wacky after all. Birds of the same feather you might say. Or will it be the duelling diaries?

On Guard: "Duff" versus "Harp!"
Clare L. Pieuk
Court asked to unseal RCMP documents on Harper family

By Stephen Maher
Friday, April 10, 2015

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen take a selfie with son Ben. (Photograph: Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press/National Post files)

An order sealing documents containing allegations of RCMP leaks of private information about the prime minister's family violates Charter rights to freedom of the press, a lawyer for Postmedia News and other news organizations will argue in court next Friday.

Last week, Brian MacLeod Rogers filed an application asking Justice Mary Vallee to unseal documents believed to contain private information about the family of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Vallee ordered the documents sealed at a closed-door hearing at Ontario Superior Court in Newmarket in December.

The documents were filed by a lawyer acting for Sergeant. Peter Merrifield, who is suing the RCMP for harassment and bullying, alleging systematic abuse and cover-ups 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.

Rogers is acting for Postmedia News, CBC, Maclean's and the Toronto Star in this matter.

In his application, he 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 for his role in making allegations about MP Helena Guergis and her husband. She was later cleared after being stripped of her cabinet seat and expelled from the Conservative caucus.

Original source article:
The StarPhoenix

Original source article: Court asked to unseal RCMP documents on Harper family

Note to Readers:

Doesn't it seem a tad strange the appeal is being heard by the same judge who issued the original publication ban? Potential conflict of interest? Will she also slap a publication ban on the reasons for her decision?


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