17.4.05

I have a huge problem with this

This is from OpinionJournal's Political Diary (not available on-line):
Bloggers Liberate Canada

Canada's ruling Liberal Party has held power for 54 of the last 70 years, but it is now besieged by Internet bloggers. U.S. blogs have violated a court ban on the reporting of court testimony on "Adscam," a scandal in which some $80 million in public money was siphoned off to Liberal Party operatives. The Liberals are plummeting in the polls, and since they hold only a minority of seats in Parliament, it looks like the party could lose a vote of confidence and be forced into early elections in June.

Canada's free-speech laws are more restrictive than those in the U.S. and permit publication bans of evidence or motions introduced in a trial in an effort to avoid tainting the jury pool. Last month, Justice John Gomery, who was appointed to oversee an inquiry into Adscam, imposed a publication ban on the testimony of three witnesses who gave details about how advertising agencies were hired by the previous Liberal government to fight secession attempts by the province of Quebec. Much of the money was squandered and a large part of it wound up lining the pockets of party apparatchiks.

But American bloggers, led by Ed Morrissey at his Captain's Quarters blog, got a hold of some of the testimony and posted it on their sites. A Canadian web site, NealeNews, linked to Mr. Morrissey's blog and soon all of Canada was talking about what newspaper and television reporters could only hint at. One Canadian blogger who linked to the testimony in violation of the court ban said he did so because he does not want his children growing up in a country "where public testimony can be known by government officials and by the media, but by no one else." Indeed, Canadian voters faced the ridiculous prospect of going to the polls in June without having access to the Gomery court testimony that would be the basis for their having an election in the first place.

Justice Gomery finally cried uncle and lifted most of the unenforceable ban last week because he belatedly recognized "it is in the public interest that this evidence with few exceptions be made available to the public." Score one for the blogging community, which has just proven that when it comes to the Internet, there truly are no borders.
If only these "freedom fighting" bloggers could be arrested for contempt of a court order. This was in no way a political cover-up, it was an attempt to have a fair trial. The same thing happened during the Homolka trial years ago, when American's turned tv and radio speakers into broadcasters and aimed them at Canada to inform them about the trial.

Would I think the same if it were a different type of trial? Probably not. Yes, there are secrets out there that should be exposed - witness Watergate. But this doesn't qualify. It doesn't even come close. Morrissey is no Woodward, no Bernstein. People like Morrissey should be punished for their acts, not honoured because they decided that they knew better than a judge.

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