Thursday, 14 May 2015



Shredding the Documents


A recent New York Times crossword clue read: Feature of the Nixon White House tapes. The three letter solution was GAP. Former United States Secretary of State and current 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently made the hard choice to delete 30,000 emails from her personal server before turning over the remaining files to the American government for archiving. Said server was subsequently destroyed. Closer to home former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty will best be remembered for blacking out the mounting costs of two cancelled gas plants; those vanished emails were supposed to deke out a potential scandal rather than create it. Very close to home is the orgy of file shredding occurring on the grounds of the Alberta legislature since May 6th, the morning after the Progressive Conservative Party was deposed after more than four decades of big oil cronyism.


The recent V-E Day celebrations reminded those of us who have had the great fortune to be born into any one of the world’s great democracies that it took a lot of blood and sacrifice to get us this far. The Occupy movement served to remind us that our grand achievements are still riddled with imperfections. Edward Snowden’s leaks reminded us that perhaps we’ve been too complacent and indifferent to the motives of those to whom we grant the privilege of wielding power.


Still, we’re awake and alive enough to question erasures, deletions and curly shreds of foolscap. In Tricky Dick’s case, well, the White House office administrator was a klutz plain and simple. The divine Ms Clinton decreed that nobody need know her daughter’s wedding plans; they must have been elaborate. In Toronto the Liberals were just trying to balance the energy ministry’s books to the tune of a $7-million accounting shortfall, fiddling with red ink and ledger columns. Here in Edmonton there’s been the weirdest coincidence. The exiting government thought it might be a good time to clean house and the paper purge was arranged and scheduled months ago.

Sure, the dog was driving erratically but that’s only because he ate my homework. I swear he hasn’t had a drop to drink all night, officer. Honest.

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