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LRT Inquiry: Commissioner shoots down a request to keep a document secret

During an investigation by the LRT Commission, Commissioner Judge William Hooligan considered an application requesting urgent preparation of evidence.

File photo: A light-rail train arrives at Lees station.
File photo: Light rail train arrives at Leeds station .. Photo: Tony Caldwell/Post Media

The judge overseeing the LRT investigation is confidential. Does not allow claims. In a way that the committee learns as much as possible about the issue of confederation lines.

The hearing will begin last week on Monday and eight witnesses will testify over a four-day period.

This week begins with city manager Steve Kanellakos submitting evidence in the morning, but Thursday's final words are directed to Rideau Transit Group executives.

During an investigation by the LRT Commission, Commissioner Judge William Hooligan considered an application requesting urgent preparation of evidence.

The city of Ottawa was one of the parties trying to curb a pile of documents from the investigation, but Hourigan did not have a sympathetic ear for the city's secret request.

"In essence, the city's application is a series of broad claims that suppress the document and is not fully endorsed by compelling facts or legal grounds for doing so," Hourigan said. Wrote in a decision on June 10th.

The city is a Philadelphia-based company, TransportationResearchAssociates, which has about 1,600 documents or some of them for procurement, risk analysis, independent certifier decisions, and After the second derailment last year, I was hired to consider returning the LRT system to service.

Most of the city's concerns were about the disclosure of confidential commercial information.

The city also wanted to edit the stage 2 capital budget information and all termsheets for the business contract. On top of that, Hourigan was open to listening to further discussions. (Under the Commission's mission, Stage 2 is not part of the investigation.)

Not the only request from the city to protect evidence from citizens. was.

The city was concerned that some WhatsApp group messages would be published and argued that the messages should be kept secret with the privileges of lawyers and clients and the privileges of litigation.

The committee learned about WhatsApp chat involving city officials after the city consultant STV created an instant message as part of the discovery process.

This time, the arbitrator Frank Maraco was tasked with making a decision at the request of the city.

In a decision announced on June 21, Maraco allowed the city to scrub phone numbers and personal information from chat, but the arbitrator did not purchase the city's claim of privilege. It was. Most of the content of the message has been released.

The city wasn't the only one who wanted to hide the evidence during the investigation.

The state's royal company, Infrastructure Ontario (IO), has applied for approximately 2,300 procurements and confidentiality of government advisory documents. This prevented it from being made public to survey participants and the general public. The agency suggested that only the participant's lawyer view the material.

The Commissioner courageously shot down IO's request, pointing out that such confidentiality orders would fly in the face of being asked to make inquiries.

"The Commission is obliged to get answers from the people of Ontario about what happened in the (Stage 1) project and how to prevent the problem from recurring," Hourigan said. Is writing in the decision.

"All participants should concentrate on getting these answers, and if thousands of related documents are suppressed, no solution can be found. It is clear. "

The Rideau Transit Group also claims confidentiality related to the document for arbitration between its construction sector, the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Constructor, and the railroad maker Alstom. did. Both companies wanted to protect sensitive financial information from disclosure.

Hourigan has allowed companies to make "reasonable edits" to their documents.

At a cross-examination hearing, Hourigan showed that witnesses did not have time to avoid questions or speculate if the evidence could be confidential.

One of the notable moments was when Deloitte's city financial consultant, Remobutch, stated that he needed to pay attention to the evidence for "confidentiality."

The hooligan interrupted the question.

"We are here for a hearing," Hourigan said. "We do not hide behind confidentiality. We do not answer questions because they may be confidential. If you have a problem with what you are saying, someone will tell us. For now, you should be free to answer the question completely. "

Meanwhile, evidence breaks the privileges of the client and the lawyer, or in an ongoing legal dispute. If you get involved, there was a moment when Hourigan or a lawyer stopped talking to the witnesses.

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