Ontario’s failed six-year fight to keep partial postal codes of registered sex offenders secret was a “colossal waste of money,” says Progressive Conservative correctional services critic, Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark.
The province lost three unanimous court decisions as it fought an access-to-information request for the first three characters of Ontario’s registered sex offenders. The fight ended in April, when the Supreme Court issued a 7-0 decision ordering the data released.
“The government did everything it could to not release this information,” said Clark, who’s now campaigning for re-election.
He also took the government to task for claiming it can’t say how much the legal battle cost because the Ministry of the Attorney-General used in-house lawyers.
“I think it’s another scandal that the Wynne government has to wear. Clearly this information was being fought every step of the way by the government, and I think we have a right to know how much it cost taxpayers.”
Attorney General Madeline Meilleur, who was correctional services minister for most of the period when the case was being fought, declined comment earlier in the week. Her staff said she can only do interviews in special circumstances over the course of the provincial campaign, which culminates June 12.
“I can’t understand it,” Clark said. “The risk to personal privacy just wasn’t there. It wasn’t a public safety issue. I can’t for the life of me understand why the government would oppose this for six years at, I would think, an astronomical cost to the taxpayer. It was a waste of court time and it was a waste of taxpayers’ dollars, plain and simple. “