UPDATE: Wed. Jun. 3 2009 4:02 PM ET
Lisa Raitt will not lose her job, but the prime minister’s office says one of her staff has resigned after leaving behind sensitive documents at CTV News’ Ottawa bureau. Story here.
Apparently, a binder of documents was left at CTV’s Ottawa bureau by either Minister of Natural Resources Lisa Raitt or one of her aides. The documents are reported to reveal that Ottawa has poured far more money into the aging Chalk River nuclear reactor than the public has been told.
This is troubling on a number of levels. For one thing, this sort of sloppiness on the part of our government officials really is inexcusable. For another, there seems to be a misguided set of media ethics are in place at CTV.
Someone leaves behind secret government documents and CTV staff make copies and reveal the contents to the public. Is that ethical? Certainly the dumb mistake of leaving the documents at their office should not absolve CTV staff of responsibility for abusing the public trust. Government documents marked secret are obviously not meant for public consumption, so why publish them? “Gotcha” politics, that’s why. It’s all about trying to make the Tory government look bad so they can feed their news-machine.
The Tories have left themselves open to much deserved criticism because of this security gaffe, but CTV’s hands are not clean. Failure to notify guests for six days that they have left private property behind and then to copy and make the contents public is wrong—regardless of whether individuals or news services do it.
Not that I’m surprised. CTV promised Stéphane Dion they would not release parts of an embarrassing recording, then they reneged and ran the recording over and over again. Ethics seem to mean nothing to these people.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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