Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault took the Harper government to court this week over the destruction of the long gun registry. Back when the government passed legislation to end the registry, she reminded Public Safety Minister Vic Toews that registry information was subject to Access to Information laws. And, therefore, there should be no rush to destroy that information.
But, on Tuesday, Stephen Harper admitted that the government ignored Legault and pressured the RCMP to destroy the records quickly. There is a paper trail to document that pressure. Steve Sullivan writes:
That includes emails that detail significant pressure on registry officials to destroy the information and destroy it quickly. Pierre Perron of the RCMP’s firearms programs wrote: “Just for the record, (the) minister’s office is putting a lot of pressure on me to destroy the records sooner.” Other officials referred to “pressure from senior RCMP to move up the delete date.” And another Canadian Firearms Program manager wrote: “Between you and me, someone will owe us lots of drinks at (the Prime Minister’s Office) if they want this to happen by end of August.”
And, just to make sure that the government will bear no legal responsibility for its actions, the budget bill contains a clause immunizing the RCMP from the legal consequences of carrying out the government's wishes. Tony Clement claims that this is all a tempest in a teapot. But changing laws retroactively is a big deal. The Harperites have written their own get out of jail free card.
It's clear that the prime minister believes, as he told his security detail, that he makes the rules. His contempt for the rule of law is absolutely stunning.