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Feds seek 3-month delay to reassess court challenge of RCMP gun data destruction

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OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The constitutional challenge of a Conservative law that retroactively cleared the RCMP for destroying gun registry data has been put on hold while the new Liberal government reassesses its options.

The attorney general of Canada requested a three-month delay in the case, according to the office of federal information commissioner Suzanne Legault, in order to “consider its position in these proceedings.”

Legault and the individual involved in the case, Bill Clennett, agreed to the postponement.

At issue is a highly controversial move by the former Conservative government last spring to retroactively rewrite the access-to-information law after Legault found the Mounties wilfully breached the rules in handling a request for gun registry data in 2012.

The Harper government reacted to Legault’s special report to Parliament by creating a backdated loophole that they buried in an omnibus budget bill, effectively turning back the clock to October 2011 in order to rewrite the law and clear the RCMP of wrongdoing.

In a special report to Parliament last May, the information commissioner called the Conservative move a “perilous precedent” that could be used by future governments to retroactively rewrite laws on everything from spending scandals to electoral fraud.