Ann Cavoukian: Canada’s newest rock star watchdog

Tease the day: Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner takes on the province

CP/Chris Young

Ontario’s former premier is in a bad place. Yesterday, Dalton McGuinty was again in front of the legislature’s justice committee. He was trying to explain his government’s handling of the cancellation of two gas-fired plants in Oakville and Mississauga. He faced questions about senior staffers deleting all emails related to the file. And he mostly defended that wiping of the record—sort of. “The rules here are confusing, and they cry out for clarity,” he said. “What to destroy and what to preserve is, today, a matter of judgment.”

Ann Cavoukian, the province’s information and privacy commissioner, also appeared in front of the committee. And, later on, she spoke to Evan Solomon on CBC’s Power and Politics. If every government watchdog were as relentless as Cavoukian, governments would probably be a lot more nervous about, well, everything.

Among her zingers was a dressing down of staffers’ claims that they emptied their inboxes at the end of the day as a personal policy. “There was not one email relating to the subject matter,” said Cavoukian. “That, to me, strains credulity that you would do that simply because you believe in having a clean-inbox policy. I mean, who does that?”

Cavoukian stopped short of accusing the government of a cover-up. But she was exasperated throughout the interview, clearly flabbergasted by what she’s observed. It can’t be long before she joins the likes of Sheila Fraser, Canada’s former auditor general, and Kevin Page, Canada’s former parliamentary budget officer, as rock stars in the government watchdog hall of fame.

Cavoukian’s full interview is here:

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with U.S. President Barack Obama’s fight against climate change, and his conditions for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The National Post fronts frustration among residents of High River, Alta., who’d like to return to their flooded homes. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty’s criticism of the opposition in the face of questions about his government’s cancellation of gas-fired plants in the province. The Ottawa Citizen leads with McGuinty’s appearance at the provincial legislature’s justice committee. iPolitics fronts Obama’s push to form a legacy on climate change. leads with the U.S. Supreme Court‘s consideration of same-sex marriage rights. CTV News leads with the court’s looming same-sex marriage decision. National Newswatch showcases News Talk 770’s dismissal of Dave Rutherford, a prominent talk radio host in Calgary who was leaving the station in a month.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Arthur Porter. The wife of Canada’s former spy watchdog, Pamela Porter, faces a conspiracy charge and a laundering charge in connection with her husband’s alleged crimes. 2. Torture. Amnesty International reports that Aaron Yoon, a Canadian imprisoned in Mauritania on terrorism-related charges, claims to have been tortured by authorities.
3. Marijuana. A commercial producer of marijuana for medical purposes says his company will turn the product into “true medicine,” and even make it available in pill form. 4. Moose sex. Nova Scotia’s moose population is endangered, but a new corridor of land that connects the province to New Brunswick’s moose could encourage mating that boosts its ranks.
5. Egypt. Fuel shortages are widespread in Egypt in advance of huge planned demonstrations that will call on President Mohammad Morsi to resign his post and call an early election. 6. Terrorism. Police in Germany and Belgium investigated an apparent plot by aeronautics students to use remotely controlled airplanes, armed with explosives, in a terrorist attack

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.