Editorial: the story behind the story

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.

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Some of the pages looked like this.

Screenshot of document obtained from the City of Port Moody through a freedom of information request.

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.”

Aw, raspberries.

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.

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