CBC ordered to hand over papers

The CBC has once again been told by a court it is legally required to turn over papers to Suzanne Legault, Canada’s information commissioner. This time it is a unanimous decision by the Federal Court of Appeal, which upheld an earlier Federal Court decision.

The national broadcaster has been refusing to hand over 16 requests for information, claiming it is allowed to protect its journalistic, creative and programming material. It also refused to allow Ms. Legault to review the material in order to assess its decision. Ms. Legault took the case to court in 2010 and won, but the CBC appealed to a higher court. It was that appeal the went against the CBC in yesterday’s decision.

So here we have a semi-public agency, the CBC, defying a law it insists other public agencies follow diligently, for which defiance it is sued by a public official, loses its case, appeals to a higher court and loses once more—all with public money. There’s something seriously wrong with this picture.

So long as the CBC has access to ever more of taxpayers’ money, they’ll never act in a financially prudent manner. It’s time to trim its wings.

© Russell G. Campbell, 2011