Judge raps Justice officials for treatment of whistle-blower

Photo from Dave Chan/The Globe and Mail

By Bill Curry, the Globe and Mail, 16 January 2013

In a highly unusual case, Department of Justice lawyer Edgar Schmidt is challenging his own department in Federal Court and revealing details about the internal guidelines used by federal lawyers. The department accuses Mr. Schmidt of violating his duties as a lawyer and public servant and has suspended him without pay. (...)

Federal Court judge Simon Noël heard from the two sides in the Schmidt case Tuesday and criticized Ottawa’s swift response to the lawyer, who considers himself a whistle-blower acting in the public interest. (...)

Mr. Schmidt says that since as far back as 1993, government lawyers have been directed to approve all measures as long as they can imagine an argument in favour of compliance that would have a 5 per cent chance of success. The government does not confirm this, arguing any internal instructions must be kept secret as solicitor client privilege and cabinet confidences. (...)

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photo by Dave Chan/The Globe and Mail.