April 03, 2005
Skeletons In The Closet
With the latest governmental scandal ripping just beneath the surface of public knowledge, it has rankled me that often a publication ban is slapped on court cases and other inquiries. This form of censorship erodes our democracy and attacks our right to free speech. Or do we really have that right? I wonder.

Three major media bans that came to mind involve the Pickton trial, the Legislative raids in BC, and of course, the latest, the Gomery inquiry. It's archaic and frustrating. Those who wish to know about what is happening need to do no more than a bit of hunting on the internet, to find sources outside of Canada who are not bound and gagged. We live in an information society. The unfortunate part, though, is that the majority of Canadians don't spend their time searching for the deeper stories and a ban will likely shield Canadians from knowing the full truth of what is happening in their country.

I have spent the better part of the night trying to research what constitutes merit for a sealing order, or publication ban. I have become only more confused and frustrated.

The Supreme Court of Canada states in Rule 33:
Certificate as to ban or sealing order: All applications must include a certificate in Form 25B that states whether or not there is a sealing order or ban on the publication of evidence or the names or identity of a party or witness, gives the details of the sealing order or ban, if any, and includes a copy of any written order.
This Form 25B only indicates the wish for a ban, but I can't seem to find what justifies the reason. Tainting juries seems to be a possibility, however, it's a slippery slope when censorship sanitizes such major stories.

An article from the Ottawa Citizen, in 2004 gets it right on the mark and reads in part:

"Ultimately, the law belongs to the public, and the courts belong to the public," said Ottawa University law professor David Paciocco.

"The public is entitled to know what goes on in courts.

"The open-court principle is essential to protect freedom of expression and freedom of the press, which are essential to democracy."

Read the rest of the article here.

These are the trials, the laws, the people that govern our country and those who live in it. Our courts are paid for by our tax dollars. Don't we deserve to know what is happening, without feeling guilt?

Isn't it our responsibility to know the direction our country is taking without having to search outside our borders for the answers?

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.

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