A good deal of the squeaking and squawking from Canada's Dumbass-o-sphere this morning reads something like, "How dare they publish that private conversation between Raitt and MacDonnell? That was private, and private stuff has an expectation of, you know, privacy. 'Cuz it's, well, private!" The bitching and moaning goes on and on, but rest assured, the word "private" plays a prominent part in most of it.
Which brings us to some of the logic used by the judge in his decision to allow the Chronicle Herald to report on the tape's contents:
Earlier, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Gerald Moir rejected an injunction application by Raitt's former press secretary, Jasmine MacDonnell, to block the paper from publishing a story about the recording. Her lawyer argued it was a private conversation.
After listening to more than five hours of audio, Moir ruled Monday evening in Halifax it was not a private conversation because of the people involved.
An interesting point, since the judge quite clearly suggests that what was recorded was not a "private" conversation but was, instead, somehow business related or part of the normal cycle involving members of the government as they go about their public duties, for which there should be no expectation of privacy. And why should we appreciate the value of such a careful distinction? Because the Conservative government made it so.
Recall, if you will, the difference in treatment of Maxime Bernier and Lisa Raitt -- the former had to resign, the latter didn't. And the difference? Let's let Fat Steve spell it out:
In Quebec City, Harper said the difference was he did not believe the breach was the result of the [Raitt's] "personal action."
Raitt, Harper said, "was undertaking employment activity, ministerial activity in the company of her staff who were responsible for these documents and certainly for accounting for these documents later.
"I think she had a reasonable expectation that that would be done."
In short, Raitt was forgiven because she was doing her job as a Member of Parliament when she lost her docs, while Bernier was sacked because he misplaced his while boning his biker chick. An interesting distinction, yes? And one made by none other than Fat Steve himself. Which suggests that, when one debates any expectation of privacy, one has to ask whether Raitt and MacDonnell were just hanging out somewhere doing that girl talk stuff, or whether they were on the job so that everything that transpired should be a matter of public record. Oh, look:
Their conversation was inadvertently recorded by MacDonnell's tape recorder during a car ride the two shared to an event in Victoria on Jan. 30, the paper reported.
So they were on the job and should therefore have no expectation of privacy, and if anyone doesn't like that, they can take it up with Fat Steve, who opened that door wide enough that anyone else could walk through it.
Now, would Canada's wankers please shut the hell up? Yeah, like that's going to happen.