Friday, May 27, 2005

Something to hide?

In the course of researching political contributions by Canadian media organizations for my article Our conflicted media, I had trouble unearthing the list of contributors to Paul Martin’s leadership campaign. The public online sources of this information seemed to have mysteriously vanished.

All the government links that came up in my searches on Google came back in error. Fortunately for Google’s cache feature, I was able to piece together most, but not all, of it.

I followed up with Strategis, which had initially hosted the information for the Office of the Ethics Counsellor. They confirmed that the information was recently removed from their database. I then contacted the Office of the Ethics Commissioner and received this explanation:

The contributions made to Mr. Martin's leadership campaign were publicly disclosed on the Office of the Ethics Counsellor website (Industry Canada, Public Registry, at ""). However, that website was shut down a few weeks ago as this office does not exist anymore and has been replaced by the Office of the Ethics Commissioner. This information has not been transferred to the new website because the rules that applied then to the disclosure of leadership campaign contributions are not part of the mandate of the Commissioner (as a result of bill C-24 the Canada Elections Act was amended and now regulates leadership donations).

To be fair, the OEC did send me a document containing the full disclosures that the Martin leadership campaign made. Unfortunately, I received it two days after I had posted my article. It does make one wonder, is the Paul Martin government hiding something?