FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2014
Plaintiffs D’Arcy Hande, Valerie Zink, and Andrew Loewen regret that the Northern Village of Pinehouse has reneged on a pledge to respond by today’s date to two freedom of information requests filed in April 2013. Pinehouse’s failure to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is currently the subject of an appeal filed in the Court of Queen’s Bench on January 27.
A fax to plaintiff Valerie Zink, dated the same day, stated that defendants “anticipate providing a fully compliant response no later than February 28, 2014.” However, plaintiffs have yet to receive any of the documentation that was requested over 300 days ago by Zink, then-Editor/Publisher of Briarpatch Magazine, as part of ongoing research into Pinehouse’s dealings with the uranium industry.
In the Statement of Defence, filed on February 21, defendants argue that they lack the training and resources to comply with their obligations under the Act. However, as the Privacy Commissioner noted in his report last November, “even after my office…referred the Village to a number of resources to assist them in their compliance efforts, there was still non-compliance. The Village stopped communicating with my office.”
The Statement of Defence also claims that plaintiffs were directed to websites “where a number of responsive records could be located.” However, these websites (pinehouse.ca and cameco.ca) do not contain information relevant to the requests.
Plaintiffs are unable to explain why defendants have failed to produce documents that should be readily at hand. According to Zink, “The majority of documents requested could be gathered in a matter of hours.”
“The mayor and council’s continued failure to comply with these requests has certainly heightened our interest in pursuing this story,” says current Briarpatch Editor Andrew Loewen. “We are anxiously awaiting answers to questions that Pinehouse residents have been asking for some time.”
valeriezink [AT] gmail [DOT] com
andrew [AT] briarpatchmagazine [DOT] com
First Press Release (January 27, 2014):
Statement of Claim (PDF)
Review Report from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
“Courting collaboration,” Briarpatch Magazine, November/December 2013