"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The unpublic domain

CBC St. John’s reports today:

Newfoundland and Labrador's auditor general has been unable to gain access to cabinet documents he needs for an investigation into a controversial fibre optic network.
John Noseworthy said he acknowledges that provincial legislation governing his office clearly rules that cabinet documents are not meant to be released, but he believes the records are important enough that he asked for them to be released anyway.

Glorious Leader, meanwhile, issues this Stalinesque press release:

The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, today called upon the Official Opposition to start acting with greater responsibility and integrity as they dispatch their public role, which is to provide fair, balanced and credible opposition.
It Is Unpatriotic To Question Glorious Leader.

“Our government made a $15 million investment that will save taxpayers, businesses and educational facilities hundreds of millions of dollars. That is a fact […]” concluded the Premier.
It may be a fact.

It may not be a fact.

Who knows?

Evidently Glorious Leader does. He says so. “That is a fact.”

This strongly suggests — necessarily implies, in fact — that someone else has, in fact, crunched the numbers, and ascertained that the “$15 million investment” will, as a statement of fact, “save taxpayers, businesses and educational facilities hundreds of millions of dollars.”

There ought to be documents already in existence which prove this fact. There must be if he is denying access to them. You cannot deny access to documents which do not exist.

Never mind that Glorious Leader’s statement today contradicts what he said less than a month ago. Last month the benefits were beyond counting. Today’s official story is that the calculation can be quantified (“hundreds of millions of dollars.”) And by necessary implication, the documents must exist: Glorious Leader is denying access to them, by hiding behind cabinet secrecy:
“Having been in government for more than 14 years, the official Opposition is fully aware that providing access to cabinet documents is not permitted by law,” Williams said in his statement.
This would be the very principle of cabinet secrecy, protected by law, which he pledged to abolish in his own 2003 election platform:

A Progressive Conservative government will:
Proclaim new Freedom of Information legislation which will include amendments that will clearly identify information that should be in the public domain, including cabinet documents, and will require full and prompt disclosure of the information to the public.
Why is Glorious Leader allowed to get away with this blatant flip-flop?

Was he lying in 2003? Or is he breaking a promise now? One of these must be the case.


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