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NEWS RELEASE · 7th October 2011
BC NDP
Liberal Attorney General Shirley Bond was forced to apologize for misleading the public and misquoting New Democrat MLA Leonard Krog when he challenged the Liberals on their misplaced priorities for fixing the problems plaguing British Columbia’s courts.

Krog, the official opposition critic for the attorney general, said in the legislature Thursday, “The attorney general misrepresented my position regarding cameras in the courtrooms for the Stanley Cup riot trials. Further, she wrongly attributed a quote to me, when in fact it was made by someone else.”

On Wednesday, New Democrats were challenging the Liberals’ priority of turning the Stanley Cup trials into Hollywood-style TV proceedings instead of addressing the real issue facing our courts - a shortage of resources such as judges and sheriffs.

Krog said in question period Wednesday, “Criminals aren't walking free in B.C. because there weren't cameras in the courtrooms. They're walking free because trials have been delayed or cancelled due to a shortage of sheriffs and judges.”

Krog asked the premier “if she will get away from the cameras on this issue, and take the issues facing our courts seriously and hire more judges?”

Minister Bond rose to defend the premier by misrepresenting Krog’s position. In doing so, she quoted CFAX radio host Murray Langdon from a March 19, 2010 interview, but wrongfully attributed the quote to Krog.

Krog said the attorney general of all people should know better as she is not an ordinary MLA, and is not an ordinary cabinet minister.

As stated by William H. Davies, Q.C., Commissioner of the Frank Paul Inquiry, “In British Columbia, the attorney general has a dual role. As the chief law officer of the crown, he or she has an independent responsibility to consider, objectively and independently of partisan concerns, what actions…must be taken to uphold the rule of law.”

In Krog’s demand for an apology on Thursday, he stated that his position on cameras in courtrooms remains the same today as it was on March 19, 2010 when he said the idea of putting cameras in courtrooms “is essentially a public relations exercise by the government to draw attention away from their miserable record around justice in this province.”

Later Thursday morning, the attorney general rose in the house, admitted her mistake and apologized to the legislature for her comments.

Statement by Leonard Krog, October 6, 2011

I rise this morning at first opportunity to raise a point of privilege. I wish to outline factual support for my contention that this House should find the Attorney General has misled this House and that she be directed by the House to apologize.

The matters which consolidated this point of privilege arose on October 5, 2011, when I rose during Question Period to ask the Attorney General a question regarding cameras in the courtrooms for the Stanley Cup riot trials.

The Attorney General is an elected member of the legislative assembly and an active member of a political party. However she is not an ordinary MLA, she is not an ordinary cabinet minister.

As stated by William H. Davies, Q.C., “In British Columbia, the Attorney General has a dual role. As the chief law officer of the crown, he or she has an independent responsibility to consider, objectively and independently of partisan concerns, what actions…must be taken to uphold the rule of law.”

The holder of this office should be able to balance the dual role of being both the Attorney General and a member of the executive Council, and must fulfill her duties with integrity.

Yesterday, the attorney general misrepresented my position regarding cameras in the courtrooms for the Stanley Cup riot trials. Further, she wrongly attributed a quote to me, when in fact it was made by someone else.

The government news service created a transcript of an interview from March 19, 2010 on CFAX radio where radio host Murray Langdon asked me about the idea put forward by the government to have cameras put in courtrooms in BC.

Yesterday in this house the Attorney General referred to that interview and attributed the following quote to me. "The notion of cameras in the court I don't think is a bad one."

It is irrefutable based on the transcript that I did not make this statement. That statement was clearly made by Mr. Langdon, the CFAX radio host.

In fact, a clear and accurate reading of that transcript would show that my position on that day was as it was yesterday, and today.
In that March 19, 2010 interview I said the idea of putting cameras in courtrooms “is essentially a public relations exercise by the government to draw attention away from their miserable record around justice in this province.”

And that is precisely what I said yesterday. The idea of cameras in the courtrooms, good or bad, is a diversion from the real issues facing our courts…chronic underfunding and a shortage of judges and sheriffs. That is what is causing delays and cancelling trials, allowing alleged criminals to walk free into our neighbourhoods in British Columbia.

Instead of responding to the genuine concerns regarding our justice system, the attorney general recklessly bombarded this house with inaccuracies.

It is irresponsible of the Attorney General to deliberately misrepresent my position and to wrongfully attribute quotes to me.

The attorney general clearly overstepped and failed to balance the dual role of her office.

Again, I ask that she be directed by the House to apologize.