Today’s National Post expands upon a segment of Monday evening’s six o’clock news program on Global TV about a fired LCBO accountant who has launched a wrongful dismissal lawsuit against the Ontario wine and beer crown corporation, alleging millions of dollars of funds have been misappropriated. I have reprinted the National Post article in full below.
The article speaks for itself. There’s not enough detail for me to analyze the situation in a meaningful way, other than for me to say that rumours have swirled around the LCBO for years among journalists of possible mismanagement and outright corruption at the organization. Yet no one has ever had enough solid material to go to press, especially in the wake of a libel chill that has most news organizations only printing or going to air with material that is “bullet proof” — meaning it must be of the same quality as a sworn affidavit to withstand a possible legal challenge. Obviously, there are a lot of great stories that don’t get to press because of this situation.
Media critics may be glad about that, but in fact the famous fifth estate has its hands tied in Canada at the moment, and this is only abetting the interests of crooked politicians and powerful businesspeople. If Watergate were to occur today, I doubt the lawyers for the Washington Post would go to press with the investigative journalists’ copy. they wouldn’t be allowed to reveal things as they encountered them; the whole story would have had to be told at once, and Deep throat would have had to sign a sworn affidavit. Unlikely.
Anyway, this most recent scandal to hit the LCBO may or may not signal the beginning of the unravelling of the status quo at the moribund organization. I hope so, but we’ll have to wait for details from the court case to see.
(Note: On Wednesday I will be in Toronto meeting with a trade association about redesign of its website, and reviewing final proofs of our magazine. I won’t enter another Blog entry until Thursday.)