Musings —07.11.2013 12:25 PM—
Here are quotes from statements that Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s “Information and Privacy Commissioner,” made on June 5:
In sum, she (a) accused people of engaging in a criminal cover-up; (b) she suggested that the criminality was part of “a culture;” and – assigning herself the role of political analyst – she (c) urges voters to vote the way she, you know, wants them to. Immediately thereafter, Opposition politicians also started braying and screeching that laws had been broken, and the OPP decided to investigate Cavoukian’s claims.
Even before yesterday’s revelations, all of that stuff was bad enough. But Cavoukian – who usually devotes herself more religiously to international junkets paid for by the taxpayer, but has not once come into Minister’s offices to educate staff about the rules, in the way that the Ontario Integrity Commissioner regularly does – wasn’t done. No, sir. She loved the attention that her statements, and her over-the-top report, received. Her taxpayer-funded profile, as one former cabinet minister told me last week, suggests that she is quite fond of herself. So she kept at it, and dialled up the rhetoric and the hysterical tone.
On June 25, then, she was back before the klieg lights, saying:
And, about Chris Morley, Dalton McGuinty’s former Chief of Staff:
“Mr. Morley’s interpretation of the responsibilities of political staff to delete records…I found to be misleading. [He engaged in] a misrepresentation of the facts….[he engaged in] misrepresentation…[he was] disingenuous…[his sworn testimony was] totally slanted...”
There she goes again: a conspiracy existed to “shield activities” from public view. Political staff were all a bunch of fibbers. And Chris Morley – who she did not interview or communicate, not once, before defaming him on an occasion where she knew she couldn’t be sued – was a liar. (When pressed, however, she admitted that Morley’s testimony had been “technically true,” quote unquote. Not many media reported that little factoid.)
Her turn before the committee and the Queen’s Park media done, Cavoukian then went on a media tour, appearing on as many TV and radio programs as she possibly could, and thereby wringing out of Maclean’s that she was “a rock star,” quote unquote.
She’s not a rock star. She’s (best case) incompetent or (worst case) a phoney, fabricating fabulist.
Yesterday’s news shows why. On June 5, she stated as a fact that emails had been “deleted,” and thereafter launched a campaign of defamation against people who mostly were in no position to defend themselves. On July 10, she revealed that, well, um, er, the emails hadn’t been “deleted” after all.
That’s a pretty big mistake, considering what her mistake led to – headlines, subpoenas and a police investigation. Her excuse is that some unidentified functionary in government told her the emails had been deleted, and it was that person who got it wrong, not her. But that’s not good enough, for five reasons.
- Cavoukian has a huge staff who are paid to – and supposedly expert in – weeding out information. They didn’t.
- By her own admission she rushed her report out the door – most likely, in my view, to capitalize on the political heat the gas plants issue was generating.
- Before accusing people of actual crimes, and viciously attacking them in print and on air, she had a legal obligation to leave no stone unturned. She didn’t do that.
- Similarly, before she kick-started a police investigation, she needed to ensure that there was no possibility – none – that she was wrong. She didn’t do that, either.
- Her report, and her subsequent comments, were as bad – if not worse – than the sort of crap John Gomery used to say, and for which he was later shredded by the Federal Court.
By her conduct, and by her words, Ann Cavoukian has diminished herself, her office, and an important issue. She has acted recklessly, without regard to the facts, and without regard for the reputations of innocent people. And – most seriously – she is the person most responsible for the launching of an actual police investigation that, we now learn, is based on her own factual error.
The emails weren’t deleted. What deserves deletion, instead, is Ann Cavoukian.