This has been a thought that first came to me during the Gomery publication ban. It keeps popping up in my head, so I’m finally putting it in writing for your consideration.
Could Justice Gomery had intended to have what happened happen?
If you recall, or if you are just tuning in, a publication ban existed during the explosive testimony of Jean Brault, when it was first revealed just how extensive and criminal were the activities of the Liberal Party under the auspices of the Sponsorship Program. Instead of merely being an example of government waste, and an example of contracts being given out to friends, the allegations re-cast the program as a money laundering scheme designed to move millions from the government purse into the coffers of the Liberal Party, paying off party debt and positioning the party for the next election.
Jean Brault was facing criminal charges, and not wanting to taint the jury pool in Montreal, Justice Gomery instituted a publication ban. That made it illegal for any media outlet to report on the testimony. But what made it strange was that the hearings are being held in Montreal, and that the ban did not include banning the public from attending the hearings. So even though it was illegal for a local newspaper in Vancouver to report on the story, any Montrealer could go into the hearings (and the audience chamber is packed every day), listen to what was said, then leave and tell his friends and family.
Word of what was said was destined to be common knowledge in Montreal, if no where else.
What happened though was that Captain Ed at Captain’s Quarters picked up the story, having had the details sent to him by someone at the hearings. Several Canadian bloggers (including yours truly) joined into to publish the material despite the ban, and over the next four days, hundreds of thousands of Canadians visited these various sites and learned what was said, and the allegations became common knowledge everywhere.
Justice Gomery is no fool. We also know there is no love lost between him and former prime minister Jean Chretien. Prior to the ban, the Gomery Inquiry was barely a blip on the radar in English Canada, followed only by the chattering class and political bloggers. Now, of course, it’s all we’re talking about.
Did Justice Gomery manufacture the conditions for his revenge? When he lifted the ban, he had no angry words for bloggers who were defying the ban. Indeed, he echoed what many of us said about the danger a ban constitutes to our constitutional rights. Then the ban was gone, and the pressure that had been building in the main stream media as they watched the best political story in years being carried by amateurs was released in an explosion of front page in-depth articles from coast to coast.
If I wanted my commission to become front page news, I couldn’t have stage-managed a better sequence of events to make sure that happened.
OK, cue the X-Files theme.
A very plausible thesis! And, yes it crossed Flap’s mind as well!