Brennan requested a status report from his Montreal lawyer at the beginning of April.
With apologies for not keeping him better informed without a prompt, Stephen Fineberg replied with a lengthy and detailed two-page email on April 13. The Access to Information and Privacy Division of Correctional Service of Canada had provided nothing to him as of that date. The bottom line: “The Access office now estimates that it will complete its work soon and have such material as exists and can be shared at my office by the end of April.”
Brennan answered the next day, reminding Stephen Fineberg that the Office of the Correctional Investigator agreed with CSC’s assessment that it had acted inappropriately. The implication was that the OCI had reviewed the video tapes as well, that they do exist, and the Correctional Investigator may be helpful in providing the information. The video tapes are the most sensitive material in question and CSC’s Access office had been advised to give them their priority.
Again, Brennan contacted Montreal on May 16. Was the CSC able to meet its end-of-April target? Montreal answered immediately and briefly to say messages had been left daily with the CSC access office asking for an explanation for the delay but there had been no response. Brennan wanted more details, and asked if Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator might be of help.
Stephen Fineberg’s answered on May 20: “In the unlikely event that the office of CSC’s Privacy Coordinator remains invisible, I shall seek assistance from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada rather than Mr. Sapers.
The former is an official of CSC, dedicated to suppressing info. The latter is a neutral officer outside of and above individual government departments and agencies, dedicated to squeezing the info out of reluctant departmental privacy coordinators. The Privacy Commissioner is supposed to be approached on appeal from an unacceptable result from the Coordinator, but I suppose it should be possible to solicit his assistance where the Coordinator is definitely declining to act at all. Such an allegation would be premature at this point.”
The wheels turn slowly.