Vive Le Canada

Ottawa won't appeal secrecy law decision
Date: Sunday, November 05 2006
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November 3, 2006

Ottawa won't appeal secrecy law decision

By BRUCE CHEADLE

OTTAWA (CP) - The image of Canada's national police force suffered another blow Friday when the Conservative government announced it won't appeal a toughly worded judgment that ripped into the Mounties for attempting to intimidate the media.

Justice Minister Vic Toews said "it is not in the public interest" to challenge the Oct. 19 ruling that struck down key portions of Canada's secrecy law and quashed RCMP warrants used to search a reporter's home.

The government will instead consider "legislative options" to resolve concerns raised by the case of Ottawa Citizen reporter Juliet O'Neill, Toews said in a terse statement.

Justice Lynn Ratushny found three sections of the so-called leakage provisions of the Security of Information Act were unconstitutionally vague and overly broad.

At the same time, the Ontario Superior Court justice also lambasted the Mounties for abusing the legal process by targetting O'Neill with the aim of "intimidating her into compromising her constitutional right of freedom of the press."

Wade Deisman, a criminology professor and director of the National Security Working Group at the University of Ottawa, said the decision not to appeal will both speed up a rewrite of the contentious law and focus another negative light on the country's security apparatus.

He said the O'Neill case bears out fears, expressed by critics when the secrecy law was toughened in 2001, that the provisions "would be used to disguise misdeeds done by the RCMP."

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2006/11/03/pf-2220458.html







[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on November 6, 2006]

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