Redaction Redacted… What Now?
Ron Bolin, Oct. 1, 2016
It has been over two years since I asked for the authority by which the City redacted the reading of a Notice of Motion from its video of the Council meeting of July 14, 2014. That request has led over the intervening years through the City’s FOI process, through the Office of the Ombudsperson, to two actions with the Office of the Commissioner of Privacy and Information of BC (OIPCBC) and back to the City for resolution. Along the way, the taxpayers of Nanaimo paid Staff members for time spent in preparing several hundred pages of legal depositions in the matter as well as paying a legal firm about $25,000 to defend before the OIPCBC an action (redaction) which I felt then, and still feel today, was indefensible. Those of you who may have followed this blog over the past few years will have read about it more than once as it proceeded along its painful way.
It ended last week with the following email:
From: “Sheila Gurrie” Sheila.Gurrie@nanaimo.ca
To: “‘Ron Bolin'” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: “‘Monique LeBlanc'” <MLeBlanc@oipc.bc.ca>
Subject: OIPC File: F1664946 City of Nanaimo Files: FOI00116; 78-FOI-2014
Date: Friday, September 23, 2016 16:24
Dear Mr. Bolin,
Please see the attached letter referencing the above noted file(s). I have copied in Monique LeBlanc, Investigator, OIPC, so she is aware this file has come to a conclusion.
The full video is too large to send via email, or to place on the City’s OwnCloud; therefore, I will have to mail a memory stick to you, or have you come pick it up. Please let me know your preference.
As well, I will be working to restore the video on the City’s website in the near future.
Thank you, and please let me know if you have any questions.
Sheila Gurrie, CIPP/C, CIAPP-P
City of Nanaimo
455 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5J6
T 250.755.4489 F 250.755.4435
This email is intended to be received only by the person to whom it is addressed and may be PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL. If you have received this email in error please delete it and inform the sender immediately. Thank you.
From: “Monique LeBlanc” <MLeBlanc@oipc.bc.ca>
To: “‘Ron Bolin'” <email@example.com>; “Sheila Gurrie” <Sheila.Gurrie@nanaimo.ca>
Subject: RE: OIPC File: F1664946 City of Nanaimo Files: FOI00116; 78-FOI-2014
Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 09:27
Good morning everyone,
As this record has now been provided in its entirety, there is no longer an issue for this office to review and I have closed this file. I have also advised the Registrar of Inquiries that this file will not be proceeding to adjudication.
Thank you both for your assistance and cooperation in resolving this file.
Monique LeBlanc CIPP/C, Investigator
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C.<http://www.oipc.bc.ca/>
4th Floor, 947 Fort Street, Victoria BC V8V 3K3
tel. 250-387-0354 | fax 250-387-1696
Follow us on Twitter<https://twitter.com/BCInfoPrivacy> | firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>
This email and any attachments are only for the use of the intended recipient and must not be distributed, disclosed, used or copied by or to anyone else. If you receive this in error please contact the sender by return email and delete all copies of this email and any attachments.
Thus ends an ordeal which, in itself, is tragically insignificant… but which sustains the overarching objective of denying the right of the City to redact records after they have been made public at a public meeting and/or in a recording of a public meeting. It is incomprehensible to me that all this effort has been spent on a matter which should have ended before it began with the simple actions which have now been taken by the City…(dare we wonder if a changing of the guard has led to reason) and to note that the efforts of the OIPCBC and the expenses which they entailed over these past 2+ years would statutorily lead to a less public and more questionable end. (FIPPA only requires that the agency provide a copy of the record under dispute to the requestor if she/he is successful. It does not require that the public record be made whole.)
I will not belabour the matter further at this time. Those interested can read my previous posts on it. But I continue to maintain that the ability to change history after it has happened publicly is a first step toward tyranny. In our modern world video records, even those made by public amateurs in public places, are accepted as public records as witnessed by their use in legal proceedings. That municipalities should be granted immunity from their public acts in public is anathema. My thanks go to those in the current City of Nanaimo administration who have recognized this and acted accordingly.
Those who wish to view the full un-redacted record of the Council meeting of July 14, 2014, can see it on the video of that date on the City’s web site. If one goes to the item listed as “Notice of Motion” at the end of the agenda, one can hear then Councillor McKay read out the Notice that was, until last week, had been removed from the video record. Ask yourself what evoked such a response.
I look forward to your comments or questions on this issue. It is most assuredly a significant part of our governance.