I wanted to write this story four months ago. In fact, I almost did.
Earlier this year, Twitter user Moody Staffer posted some intriguing allegations about a Port Moody city councillor.
So, after making a Freedom of Information request and paying $543, I ended up with about 62 pages worth of emails sent between city staff and elected officials. But then, before I had the chance to write a pithy headline, I had nothing.
The emails were replaced by 62 pages of highly redacted documents.
Local news that matters to you
No one covers the Tri-Cities like we do. But we need your help to keep our community journalism sustainable.
Some of the pages looked like this.
How did this happen?
You see, after getting the unredacted documents, I received an order from the city demanding the “Secure Destruction of Electronic Records Sent to You in Error.”
I checked with a lawyer and was advised to comply with the order.
However, there is something akin to an appeal process. So, in late June, I applied to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C. in the hopes they might ask Port Moody to be a bit less generous with the ol’ black highlighter.
I eagerly awaited the OIPC’s response. In fact, I’m still eagerly awaiting the OIPC’s response.
This brings me to Tuesday at 7:46 p.m.
After dropping a few hints, Moody Staffer posted the relevant emails online.
Professionally, I feel obligated to share the emails.
On a personal level, I was a tad nonplussed. The emails are more than two years old. They are now public because election day is looming and a partisan commentator is hoping to torpedo a candidate’s chances.
I don’t want to help or hurt any candidate’s campaign. I just want to share information.
In the final assessment, the most important two questions seem to be these: are the documents legitimate and is the information relevant?
The documents are legitimate.
It’s up to the residents of Port Moody to decide whether or not the information is relevant.