Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When Canadian law helps a kidnapper keep a victim

Toronto Star front page:


This is a tragic front-page story where a woman who may have been kidnapped must give consent to our government in order for information about her to be released. That’s the law in Canada.

The privacy of a victim trumps the safety of a victim.

The government refuses to release missing person files to a missing daughter’s mother because it’s the law. Her name is in the file. The law says – they can’t release any information confidential to her, or with her name attached.

Her name is Nicole Vienneau. She’s been missing three years now. The government refuses to release files as far back as 2008.

Case files sent by the Canadian Embassy for her mother have been blocked by Ottawa. The Canadian Embassy wanted her mother to have them.

Yes, this law does protect people who are not victims, who have chosen to run away from their family….and wouldn’t want their information shared…but what about the people who are kidnapped?

There’s something wrong with a country if it allows criminals to have free rein on travelers because their information cannot be shared to help solve the case.

Certainly the word “exemption” can be considered into law.

Online commentators seem to deflect from the policy issue saying this is the fault of Tories or Liberals. But this is not a partisan issue.

This is a Canadian who is missing. A victim whose information cannot be shared due to Canadian privacy laws.

Some commentators and even Canadian officials declare without looking at evidence that she could have chosen to run away.

Fact: Her visa expired days after her disappearance; her passport wasn’t used to cross any border.

Fact: She left her personal diaries and photos behind.If she ran away, she would take these.

Fact: Her bank accounts weren’t emptied.

Fact: She regularly chatted with her mother every two weeks. This is how she was discovered missing. She's been incommunicado for three years now.

Fact: She emailed wanting to come home earlier.

Fact: Her diaries indicated happiness, no thoughts of flight.

Fact: She was engaged to a man in Canada.

Fact: Police have a suspect. That's in reports Canada won't release.

Granted we all know people who would run away – but that doesn’t change the policy issue. In the current privacy laws, if a Canadian traveler is kidnapped, privacy laws prevent information about the victim being shared to help find the victim. Only the missing victim can given consent to waive privacy or else the victim needs to be declared dead.


X said...

Toronto Star Editorial Today


X said...

CBC (As It Happens) podcast starts at 12:15 on this story.


X said...

The Toronto Star interviewed a former privacy czar who identified a piece of legislation that can help the case...hopefully reason will prevail to share info of a missing person with her family.