1 Court File No.0103-14569
3 JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF EDMONTON
4 B E T W E E N:
6 FERREL CHRISTENSEN,
8 - and -
10 THE NATIONAL POST, NP HOLDINGS COMPANY, GLOBAL
11 COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED and DONNA LAFRAMBOISE,
13 [For reasons noted elsewhere, the name of the person examined has been deleted in this document.]
14 --- This is the Examination for Discovery of [name
and descriptor deleted] of The National Post
16 herein, taken at the offices of Atchison & Denman
17 Court Reporting Services Limited, 155 University
19 Wednesday, the 17th day of December, 2008.
22 Bradley J. Willis For the Plaintiff
23 Matthew A. Woodley For the Defendant
1 TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 INDEX OF EXAMINATIONS: PAGE NO.
4 [name deleted]: Sworn...........................4
5 EXAMINATION BY MR. WILLIS:......................4
7 INDEX OF UNDERTAKINGS
8 Undertakings are noted by "U/T" and are found on the
9 following pages: 25.
12 INDEX OF ADVISEMENTS
13 Under Advisements are noted by "U/A" ad are found on
14 the following pages: 19.
1 TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)
2 INDEX OF EXHIBITS
3 PAGE NO.
4 EXHIBIT NO. 1: Package of documents,
5 re: R000139, R000140, R000142,
6 R000144, R000147..................11
1 --- Upon commencing at 10:04 a.m.
2 [name deleted]: Sworn.
3 EXAMINATION BY MR. WILLIS:
4 1 Q. Mr. [deleted], I understand that you
5 are produced as a former employee of the corporate
6 defendant and that the answers you give will be some
7 of the information of that defendant in these
8 proceedings, that is to say, Queen's Bench action
9 0103-14569. Are those statements correct?
10 MR. WOODLEY: The statements are all
11 correct with respect to the information of the
12 corporation; similar caveats as discussed in the
13 examination with [name deleted] with respect to information
14 of the corporation, that is, the ability to provide
15 other evidence if such evidence is available.
16 MR. WILLIS: Yes. Of course. Thank
18 BY MR. WILLIS:
19 2 Q. Now, Mr. [deleted], I understand that
20 in March and April 2001, you were the [deleted] editor
21 of the corporate defendant, which I'll refer to as,
22 just for convenience, as The National Post; is that
24 A. Yeah.
25 MR. WILLIS: Now, let's just go off
1 the record for a second.
2 --- Off-the-record discussion.
3 BY MR. WILLIS:
4 3 Q. Okay. Sir, perhaps I could simply
5 ask you to give me a brief summary of your
6 professional and educational background leading up to
7 your appointment as the [deleted] editor of The
8 National Post.
9 A. Well, educational background,
10 undergraduate degree from [identifying words deleted].
11 Worked for a few years. Took a graduate journalism
12 program at [deleted]. Started [identifying words deleted]
17 4 Q. And you are still with [deleted]
19 A. Yes.
20 5 Q. Now, when you worked [deleted]
22 what were your duties?
23 A. At The National Post, I started as
24 a news reporter and then became [deleted] editor about
25 a year later, maybe 18 months later.
1 6 Q. So how long had you been [deleted]
2 editor? Roughly when did you become [deleted] editor?
3 A. In late 2000, 2001. I was at The
4 National Post from [deleted] and I would say half
5 my time was as [deleted] and about half my time was
6 [deleted] editor.
7 7 Q. So by the time -- by March of
8 2001, roughly how long have you been [deleted] editor?
9 A. A few months.
10 8 Q. Had you fulfilled a similar
11 position before [identifying words deleted]
13 A. No.
14 9 Q. Had you worked as an editor before
17 A. No.
18 10 Q. When you [identifying words deleted]
20 what were your
22 A. [identifying words deleted]
24 11 Q. Now, in March of 2001, were you a
25 member of any professional journalistic associations?
1 A. No.
2 12 Q. Were you a member, for example, of
3 the Canadian Association of Journalists?
4 A. No, other than I think they
5 purport to represent all journalists but I wasn't a
6 dues paying member, no.
7 13 Q. Have you ever been or are you --
8 have you ever been a dues paying member of the
9 Canadian Association of Journalists?
10 A. No.
11 14 Q. Have you ever been a member of any
12 professional journalists association?
13 A. No.
14 15 Q. Was there a written job
15 description of your position as [deleted] editor of
16 The National Post in March of 2001 or at any
17 subsequent time?
18 A. No.
19 16 Q. Perhaps then you would be kind
20 enough to give me informally what your job
21 description was, where you fit into the hierarchy,
22 who you reported to, who reported to you, that sort
23 of thing.
24 A. I was [deleted] editor which meant
25 I worked with reporters on the national news side and
1 was responsible for [identifying words deleted]
2 So the first part of my
3 day would be working with the reporters in Toronto
4 and at bureaus across the country on stories they
5 were working on, national stories. The latter part
6 of the day would be putting those stories on the
7 pages that are in the national section. I was -- I
8 reported to [names and related information deleted],
12 17 Q. And how many reporters did you
13 work with in March, April of 2001?
14 A. There were probably 10 in Toronto
15 and maybe half a dozen in various bureaus across the
16 country. I did not deal with -- when I say bureaus,
17 all bureaus except Ottawa which had its own
18 particular editor.
20 you known Donna Laframboise by March of 2001?
21 A. I did not know Donna at all.
22 19 Q. When you say you didn't know her
23 at all, had you -- you never worked on her with a
24 story before this story?
25 A. I never worked on her on any
2 20 Q. All right. When I say this story,
3 I'm referring to the March 30th story that was
4 published with respect to [Tim] Adams and then the
5 April 17th story. When I say "this story", I'll be
6 referring specifically to the April 17th, 2001, story
7 which is the subject of this litigation. But
8 generally of course earlier there was a story on
9 March 30th which I take it you recall.
10 A. Is that this story?
11 MR. WILLIS: Let's go off the record.
12 --- Off-the-record discussion.
13 BY MR. WILLIS:
14 21 Q. Mr. [deleted], confirming our
15 discussion off the record, the April 17th, 2001,
16 story which is at issue in this litigation, was the
17 first one that you ever worked on with Donna
18 Laframboise, correct, as far as you can recall?
19 A. I didn't work with her on any
20 story. That's the first story she ever wrote that
21 came to me to go into the national section that I
22 recall. I didn't work on her with it. She wasn't
23 one of the reporters -- one of the ten or a dozen
24 reporters I worked with. She was not part of that
25 group. So I had nothing to do with the story she
1 worked on. [Most of this transcript involves this person's denials of anything but trivial involvement with the article. For whatever it means, CanWest began to make genuine efforts to settle this lawsuit without going to trial only when my lawyer began interviewing the former editors at The Post, unearthing such contradictions.] [Back]
2 22 Q. Thanks for making that
3 distinction. Now, off the record, I advised you that
4 there was an earlier article that did not refer to my
5 client, Dr. Christensen -- rather, [Tim] Adams, that
6 ran on March 30th, and confirming our discussion off
7 the record, I understand that, as far as you can
8 recall, you were not involved in that article and do
9 not recall it.
10 A. I was not involved in that
11 article, and I don't recall it.
12 23 Q. Thank you. So when I refer to the
13 article or this article, unless I specify otherwise,
14 I'll just be referring to the article of April 17,
16 A. Right.
17 24 Q. Now, just to do some housekeeping
18 before we get on record. I don't think we -- perhaps
19 just for clarity, although these items are listed in
20 your affidavit of record, so technically we don't
21 need to enter them as exhibits. Perhaps since we are
22 in Toronto --
23 MR. WOODLEY: However you like it.
24 MR. WILLIS: We could enter items
25 R00139, 140, 142, 144, and 147 collectively as the
1 first exhibit in these discoveries as e-mails
2 involving Mr. [deleted]. And as I understand it, at
3 least based on my review of the affidavit of records,
4 and yours, Mr. Woodley, these are all of the e-mails
5 that have been produced that had Mr. [deleted]'s name on
6 the --
7 MR. WOODLEY: I'm relying on my
8 colleague for that but that's my understanding.
9 MR. WILLIS: Might this package, as
10 I've described it, be entered as the first exhibit.
11 MR. WOODLEY: That's fine.
12 EXHIBIT NO. 1: Package of documents,
13 re: R000139, R000140, R000142, R000144, R000147.
14 BY MR. WILLIS:
15 25 Q. Now, my understanding from the
16 examination for discovery of Ms. Laframboise was, as
17 she put it, she pitched the story to you. Just to
18 assist you, I'm showing you page 22 of the
19 examination of Donna Laframboise way back in 2002,
20 and you'll note that she there says that the story
21 was, as she puts it, pitched to you.
22 A. Hmm-hmm.
23 26 Q. What do you recall about Ms.
24 Laframboise's pitching of the story?
25 A. I recall nothing of her pitching
1 of the story, and my reading of this is she seems
2 here in this bit that I have to be talking in
3 generalities. The person that I pitched the story
4 to, which is a news editor, are we interested in
5 doing this story and that was [this editor's name deleted],
write this story and [name deleted again] at some
7 point edited it. My reading of that is that's the
8 general purpose, the general process, and she is
9 correct. But I don't recall her pitching me anything
10 on this story.
11 27 Q. Now, apart from the documents in
12 Exhibit 1, did you keep any notes or records relating
13 to the production of this story?
14 A. No.
15 28 Q. Did you have any notes, records or
16 e-mails or other information which have since been
17 lost or destroyed?
18 A. No.
19 29 Q. So do I understand you correctly
20 to say that the description that we've read on page
21 22 of Ms. Laframboise's discovery is a correct
22 description of the general procedure, but you have no
23 recollection as to whether that procedure was
24 followed in the case of this story involving you?
25 A. I have no recollection. I'm
1 basing that on the question posed to her is -- seems
2 to make it a general statement of how stories are
3 pitched. I have no recollection of her pitching the
4 story to me at all.
5 30 Q. Perhaps I could just ask you:
6 What knowledge or interaction did you have with Donna
7 Laframboise before you interacted with her in
8 relation to this story?
9 A. None.
10 31 Q. Did you know anything about her?
11 A. No.
12 32 Q. Did you assume that she was an
13 experienced journalist when you dealt with her?
14 A. I assumed she was or she wouldn't
15 be working at the Post, yeah.
16 33 Q. Were you aware of who else, if
17 anyone, she reported to in her daily duties at the
18 time you were involved with her in the preparation of
19 this story?
20 A. I don't know who she reported to,
21 to tell you the truth, which is not uncommon. As I
22 recall, she was an opinion page comment person
23 feature writer and those people tend to report to
24 various editors, so that's not uncommon. But I don't
25 recall who she reported to directly day-to-day in
1 other words.
2 34 Q. Perhaps the simplest and quickest
3 way to do this, especially since you are used to
4 telling coherent stories, is simply to ask you with
5 the assistance of Exhibit 1, if this helps, to place
6 on the record all that you can recall about your
7 involvement with Donna Laframboise and this story and
8 then we'll ask follow-up questions from there.
9 A. What I recall from going over
10 these e-mails is that I was presented with a 2,000
11 word story to go in the paper the next day. And as I
12 mentioned before, the latter part of my duties
13 everyday was to put the stories my reporters have
14 worked on or other reporters were working on that
15 were going to go into the national section. I was to
16 put those in the national section, those pages, a lot
17 of them, in the national section in the evenings.
18 This story, as I recall it, came to me quite late in
19 the game and was too big to fit and had to either be
20 cut down or held for a day when there would be more
21 space. So I think I had suggested to her someone
22 would have to edit this down if it was going to go
23 that day or it would have to wait until a day when it
24 was -- there was more space.
25 35 Q. And what happened then?
1 A. From these, I guess we held it a
2 couple of days and I don't even know if it was edited
3 down or not, but it ran and I think it ran on a
4 Saturday or it ran anyway on a day when there was
5 more space for it.
6 36 Q. Now, when you said these, for the
7 record, you are referring to the documents that were
8 entered together as Exhibit 1. Anything else that
9 you recall as you go through those documents?
10 A. No.
11 37 Q. Now, you'll note that Ms.
12 Laframboise said that you edited the piece. What did
13 you do to edit the piece; do you recall?
14 A. I don't recall editing the piece.
15 It would be rare for me to edit in great detail a
16 story that hadn't come from a reporter that I worked
17 with normally, and a feature in particular. Usually
18 I would send it back to that reporter to rework and
19 then it would go to a copy editor for final editing.
20 But I didn't -- I don't recall editing the story.
21 38 Q. Now, in undertaking number 27, in
22 the examination of Donna Laframboise, you'll note
23 that it is suggested that there were five separate
24 drafts of the story which is part of the subject of
25 this litigation. Do you recall reviewing any of
1 those drafts? They have not been produced based on a
2 claim of privilege.
3 MR. WOODLEY: Right. Just take a look
4 at this. Can we go off the record for a second.
5 MR. WILLIS: Sure.
6 --- Off-the-record discussion.
7 BY MR. WILLIS:
8 39 Q. So confirming our discussion off
9 the record, I'm showing you undertaking number 27 of
10 Donna Laframboise, and the advice was that it isn't
11 possible to determine with certainty the number of
12 drafts to the articles, but the defendants were able
13 to ascertain that there were five dated drafts and
14 five undated drafts. The five dated drafts were
15 March 26, 2001, two drafts dated March 27th, one
16 dated March 30th and another one dated April 10th.
17 Do you recall having anything to do with any of these
18 drafts, even seeing them?
19 A. No.
20 40 Q. Are you able to say as a matter of
21 the normal procedure that you would have followed as
22 [deleted] editor, are you able to say whether you did
23 see any of these drafts?
24 A. I don't recall seeing any of those
1 41 Q. Now, if I could just see Exhibit 1
2 there for a minute. Thank you. Now, looking at the
3 e-mail from you to Donna Laframboise dated April 5th,
4 2001, in your e-mail to Donna Laframboise, you say,
5 as you've -- you repeat what you just said under
6 oath, namely, that there wasn't space to put the
7 story in, but you also say: I'm upset as well that
8 we haven't run this story. It's a great story and a
9 credit to you for finding it. So do I assume
10 correctly that that means you would have read a draft
11 of the story at that point?
12 A. I would have, I presume, based on
13 that e-mail, whatever she sent to me or whatever the
14 story was that was going to go in the paper that day,
15 I would have had, yeah.
16 42 Q. All right. Is it possible that if
17 you reviewed the drafts in the possession of the
18 defendants, that that might refresh your memory as to
19 what interaction you had, if any, in the preparation
20 or editing of those drafts?
21 A. I doubt it. I barely recall the
22 story at all.
23 43 Q. I understand that. I'm just
24 saying if you were to review those drafts, which for
25 all we know might contain -- might contain remarks or
1 comments by you or additions by you, is it possible
2 that would refresh your memory as to what occurred?
3 A. Again, I doubt it simply because I
4 doubt there would be comments from me because this
5 story had been in Donna's hands for a long time, as I
6 understood it, and it was coming to me to get in the
7 paper, not to rework, not for advice on how to
8 proceed, how to develop it, how to shape it. Now, I
9 was the end -- I was the guy who was putting it in
10 the paper and that's all I remember on that story. I
11 wasn't helping her try to shape the story.
12 44 Q. All right. The difficulty that
13 I'm having of course is that she testified that you
14 edited it and there's no -- I can advise you that
15 there's no indication of anybody else -- I asked her
16 that and you were the person that she said edited it.
17 If you were to look at those drafts, might you be
18 able to assist us with who else may have helped in
19 the editorial process?
20 A. Maybe but I don't know.
21 45 Q. I would ask you to undertake to
22 review the drafts that were produced as undertaking
23 number 27 and for two purposes. First, to refresh
24 your memory as to your involvement. I appreciate you
25 think that's unlikely but perhaps it will. And if it
1 does refresh your memory, to advise me through your
2 solicitor. Second, to attempt to ascertain who else
3 may have been involved in the editorial process that
4 led to the final article.
5 MR. WOODLEY: To ascertain that from
6 the review of the drafts.
7 MR. WILLIS: If he can.
8 U/A MR. WOODLEY: So I'm going to take it
9 under advisement for now.
10 MR. WILLIS: All right. And I would
11 actually also, Mr. Woodley, it looks like -- off the
13 --- Off-the-record discussion.
14 MR. WILLIS: Mr. Woodley, confirming
15 our discussion off the record, I would also ask that
16 when the witness has reviewed these 10 drafts, that
17 you undertake to produce whatever portions of those
18 drafts are not the subject to a claim of privilege.
19 That was confirming our discussion off the record.
20 That was a matter that was raised by me, as I
21 understand it, when I was involved some years ago but
22 it doesn't appear to have been followed up on. So I
23 understand you are going to take that request under
25 U/A MR. WOODLEY: Yes. I will take it
1 under advisement.
2 MR. WILLIS: And may I just say for
3 the record, of course you have an independent
4 obligation to produce anything that isn't covered by
5 a claim of privilege. It is my thought that when
6 this matter is reviewed by Mr. [deleted], that may
7 assist you in evaluating or re-evaluating that claim.
8 MR. WOODLEY: The defendants have that
9 obligation, yes. Mr. [deleted] of course doesn't and I
10 don't but we will of course comply with our
11 responsibilities --
12 MR. WILLIS: Right. And I just want
13 to flag that because it may be something that just
14 slipped through the cracks some years ago.
15 MR. WOODLEY: That's fine.
16 BY MR. WILLIS:
17 46 Q. Okay. Now, again in the first
18 e-mail, which I'll just show you, you have referred
19 to a discussion with Louise. Before I ask you about
20 that, you say: I'm upset as well that we haven't run
21 this story. It's a great story and a credit to you
22 for finding it. Now, this is April 5th, 12 days
23 before the story appears. Do you have any
24 recollection as at -- strike that. Do you have any
25 recollection as to what discussions if any you may
1 have had with Donna Laframboise about this story
2 before April 5th, before you wrote those words?
3 A. I don't.
4 47 Q. Okay. Now, the next sentence you
5 have is this, it says: Louise talked to me as well
6 and I assured her that the only reason the story
7 hasn't run is space, not interest. Louise, did you
8 know who Louise was?
9 A. I know now from reviewing the
10 story. I don't recall her.
11 48 Q. All right.
12 A. I'm presuming that's this Louise.
13 I don't know.
14 49 Q. Basically what's happened is that
15 your -- the lapse of time has simply made it so that
16 you don't remember who Louise was.
17 A. Correct.
18 50 Q. Is that what you are saying? Just
19 so we can be clear, what if anything is your present
20 memory of the person you have identified as Louise in
21 your e-mail?
22 A. I don't remember at all.
23 51 Q. All right. Now then, the next
24 e-mail is from Donna Laframboise to you copies to
25 some of the people whom you've referred to, and the
1 subject is Alberta father's group story delay. And
2 you'll note that it says Louise Malenfant,
3 M-A-L-E-N-F-A-N-T, the whistleblower on this story
4 and someone who has repeatedly given the Post
5 reliable news tips, writes: And then there's a
6 letter from Louise Malenfant. Today do you remember
7 reading that e-mail or do you remember the -- does
8 that refresh your memory about Louise Malenfant?
9 A. I don't remember her at all.
10 52 Q. Now, by the time you got the
11 story, as a matter of your normal practice, would you
12 have assumed that the bona fides of the person
13 referred to as the whistleblower would have been
14 checked out by Ms. Laframboise?
15 A. Yes.
16 53 Q. So that if, for example, Ms.
17 Laframboise had a pecuniary interest in the result of
18 the story, that that would have been checked into and
19 considered by Ms. Laframboise?
20 A. Oh, I would presume that, yeah.
21 54 Q. And that if she wasn't going to
22 put it in the article, that she would have, in the
23 normal course, at least discussed that with somebody,
24 discussed the question of whether Ms. Laframboise's
25 pecuniary interest, assuming she had one, should have
1 been mentioned.
2 A. That's a discussion she would have
3 with whatever editor she was working with.
4 55 Q. And you would assume that all that
5 had been done before it got to you.
6 A. Yes.
7 56 Q. All right. Because I'm
8 understanding now something I didn't understand when
9 we sat down a few minutes ago, namely that -- let me
10 just see if I have this correct. Your role, as you
11 recollect it, was not to oversee the, shall we say,
12 journalistic quality of the story as it developed but
13 rather to find a place for it on the national page
14 once it was ready; is that correct?
15 A. Correct.
16 57 Q. And at this point, you don't know
17 who, if anyone, would have been overseeing the
18 journalistic quality in the story.
19 A. I don't know, correct.
20 58 Q. There normally would have been
21 someone though. You would have expected that.
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 59 Q. And do you recall having any
24 discussions with any of the gentlemen, I think you
25 referred to them as [identifying words deleted] editors?
1 A. Hmm-hmm.
2 60 Q. Who were copied on that particular
4 A. I don't recall talking to them
5 about this story, no.
6 61 Q. Do you recall any e-mails coming
7 from them or other e-mails to them?
8 A. From me?
9 62 Q. From anyone that you were copied
11 A. About this story.
12 63 Q. Yes.
13 A. No.
14 64 Q. May I just see that again.
15 A. Yes.
16 65 Q. Thank you. Now, as of, without
17 telling me what was said, as of April 5th, 2001, do
18 you recall having any contact with lawyers with
19 reference to the story, that is to say, lawyers for
20 The National Post?
21 A. I don't recall talking to lawyers
22 about this story.
23 66 Q. At any time, do you recall having
24 done that?
25 A. No.
1 67 Q. So that again, by the time this
2 story came to you or whatever versions of this story
3 came to you, you would assume that that had already
4 been done by somebody else.
5 A. Yes.
6 68 Q. But you don't know who.
7 A. No.
8 MR. WILLIS: Now, I think this is
9 included in the previous undertaking, but when you do
10 review the drafts, if those drafts suggest to you the
11 name of any person who was involved in the editing
12 process other than yourself and of course Ms.
13 Laframboise, if you would kindly advise me through
14 your solicitor.
15 U/T MR. WOODLEY: That's included in the
16 previous undertaking.
17 MR. WILLIS: I thought so but I
18 thought I'd better put it in just in case I didn't
19 make it clear.
20 BY MR. WILLIS:
21 69 Q. Now, the third, just before I
22 leave that, e-mail, R00139, which includes an e-mail
23 from Louise to Donna Laframboise, dated April 4th, as
24 you look at that e-mail, does that refresh your
25 memory as to who the Louise was who in your previous
1 e-mail you said you had spoken to?
2 A. It doesn't. The theme of this
3 e-mail seems to be consistent with the others, that
4 there was anxiousness on the part of these people
5 that the story hadn't run.
6 70 Q. Wouldn't it be unusual --
7 A. That they were keen to have it run
8 which, you know, why it came to me to put it in the
10 71 Q. Again, given that you have no
11 memory, I have to just ask you about your normal
12 experience. Would it be unusual for someone like
13 Louise Malenfant, referred to as, quote, the
14 whistleblower, to come to you directly about such a
16 A. It would be unusual. The normal
17 course would be the reporter and the editors.
18 72 Q. Now, I can advise you that in her
19 examination for discovery -- let's just go off the
20 record for a minute.
21 --- Off-the-record discussion.
22 BY MR. WILLIS:
23 73 Q. I'm just going to read into the
24 record something that I showed you and your counsel
25 off the record and that is from page 84 of the
1 examination of Donna Laframboise back in October of
2 2002, and this passage deals with a conversation that
3 Ms. Laframboise had with a person called Bouvier,
4 B-O-U-V-I-E-R, just for your context, who was
5 associated with MEN's Group, ECMAS, E-C-M-A-S, which
6 is the subject of the article. The passage goes like
8 "QUESTION: All right. Do you
9 remember when you talked to Mr. Bouvier, do you
10 remember now telling him, well, we were going to run
11 this for Saturday and you're having a meeting this
12 weekend. Now we've bought you some time right.'
14 I may advise you, Mr. [deleted], the
15 context is some time to determine whether to seek or
16 accept the resignation of [Tim] Adams, the disbarred
17 lawyer who had been elected...
18 "ANSWER: Yes.
19 "QUESTION: Does that help you to
20 remember that you were talking to him on Thursday the
21 22nd? The story was to run on Saturday the 24th?"
22 That is of March. So this would be
23 some weeks before the story actually ran.
24 "ANSWER: No. Because I know we
25 talked -- if we talked to him on the Thursday, it's
1 still not clear to me which Thursday.
2 "QUESTION: Well, what about the
3 discussion with your editor where you said -- is
4 that -- by the way, did you actually have that
5 discussion with the editor?
6 "ANSWER: Yes. I said, 'The story is
7 developing. Let's give him some time'.
8 "QUESTION: And that was Mr. [deleted]?
9 "ANSWER: Mr. [deleted] and I discussed
10 that with [name deleted] as well."
11 I then asked for an inquiry as to
12 whether, you could help fix the date of the
13 discussion, and the undertaking came back that
14 neither you nor [name deleted] could do that. But do I
15 assume that at least you could remember that there
16 was such a discussion?
17 A. I can't remember that discussion
18 at all.
19 74 Q. The problem I'm having is the
20 context here is the question of Ms. Laframboise
21 deciding to hold off on the publication of the story
22 and this is before the story of March 30th, it
23 related only to [Tim] Adams, and then seeking advice
24 as to whether to do that, seeking advice from
25 yourself and Mr. [deleted]. And she says that you and
1 she discussed it with Mr. [deleted]. The difficulty I'm
2 having is if I understand you correctly, your
3 recollection of your role is that there never would
4 have been any such discussion.
5 A. I don't remember a discussion.
6 There might have been a discussion. I don't remember
8 75 Q. All right. Is it possible then
9 that throughout -- I won't say throughout but at
10 least from some time in March, that Ms. Laframboise
11 was asking you for advice about this story and how to
12 handle it and you've just forgotten it now in all the
13 pressure of events?
14 A. I don't recall her asking me for
16 76 Q. And I just need to check this out.
17 Is it possible that she was -- for example, is it
18 possible that she did discuss this with you and
19 seeked your advice and that of Mr. [deleted] but now
20 you've just forgotten after this lapse of time? Is
21 that possible?
22 A. That's possible.
23 77 Q. Is it possible that actually
24 before deciding to do the story, that as she put it,
25 pitched it to you and got your informal approval or
1 encouragement to carry on with it but that now you've
3 A. I have no recollection of her
4 pitching me this story. I believe she came to me
5 when the story was well underway and had been
6 underway for some time and we were getting down to
7 getting it in the paper. This again, she wasn't one
8 of the reporters I worked with on a day-to-day basis.
9 Those people I knew what they were working on and
10 talked to them constantly about the stories they were
11 working on. Donna worked in a whole different
12 section. So I cannot recall her pitching me this
13 story at all.
14 78 Q. So pitching the story, to use that
15 phrase, is that something that she would normally
16 have to do, is she would have to get some sort of
17 approval before -- or encouragement before going
18 ahead with the story?
19 A. I don't know how she operated but
20 that's certainly how the reporters I worked with
21 operated. They would come to me at the start and
22 say, this has happened or I'm interested in following
23 this or I got this tip, they do that because if they
24 get a cold reception, they are not going to spend a
25 lot of time on it. So that's usually the starting
1 point, or it's an editor going to a reporter saying
2 the exact same thing and again it's the same
4 79 Q. But your recollection is that
5 somebody had already okayed the story before it came
6 to you.
7 A. Oh, yeah, yes.
8 80 Q. All right. Do you know who?
9 A. I don't.
10 81 Q. Are you able to suggest what
11 persons might have okayed the story, would have had
12 the -- would have been in a position where they might
13 have okayed the story? Now, I simply ask you this
14 because we have Ms. Laframboise's testimony that it
15 was you and I take it we can be pretty sure that it
16 wasn't you. So can you help us with who in the
17 post-hierarchy it might be?
18 A. I think in one of the things you
19 showed me, she mentioned Ken Whyte, and I suspect at
20 some point he must have been involved. I don't know
21 that she worked with him on a day-to-day basis. I
22 doubt it. I thought she worked more with [deleted]
23 on a day-to-day basis or however arrangement they
24 had. I suspect those are the people she dealt with
25 more frequently than me.
1 82 Q. All right. And in particular,
2 with regard to this story, before it came to you, you
3 assumed that one of those people had already, I don't
4 want to use the word "vetted", but had already been
5 pitched the story and had encouraged her to go ahead
6 with it.
7 A. Yes.
8 83 Q. Now, she indicates that you talked
9 to Mr. [deleted]. Do you have any recollection of
10 having checked that or confirmed that with anyone or
11 did you simply assume that she wouldn't have come to
12 you if it hadn't already been okayed?
13 A. I have -- I don't recall what we
14 talked about. [Potentially identifying words deleted]
15 who dealt with things that might ultimately involve
16 the lawyer and so something that was headed that way,
17 would go through him first.
18 84 Q. All right. So just to confirm,
19 what we are clear about though, even though of course
20 this is such a long time ago, but it's not surprising
21 that your memory has faded for some of the things,
22 but what we are clear about is this: By the time the
23 story came to you, you knew that someone else had
24 already, some other [identifying words deleted]
25 editors, had looked at it and
1 essentially approved it.
2 A. Yeah. I would say by the time it
3 got to me, the process was well underway.
4 85 Q. All right. And you didn't have
5 any veto or any role in assuring the quality of the
6 story. You assumed that by the time it got to you,
7 all those matters had been looked into by
8 [words deleted] lawyers or other people, correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 86 Q. Thank you. May I just see those
11 e-mails. Thank you. Now, in the third e-mail of
12 Exhibit 1, which is the top e-mail of R00142, Ms.
13 Laframboise, on Tuesday, April 10th, 2001, in the
14 second last paragraph says:
15 "I know you're really busy, but you
16 also seem really decent. If you have any
17 inclination, I'd love to buy you a coffee and chat
18 about what's happened here. For me, it has been the
19 proverbial straw on the camel's back. There are some
20 profound problems in the newsroom that appear no
21 closer to being fixed than they were 18 months ago.
22 And while The Post does so many things right, it's
23 going to continue to lose good people until those
24 problems get recognized and addressed.
25 "I'm not looking for you to solve any
1 of my issues, but if my input would be helpful to
2 you, let me know."
3 Did you understand what she was
4 talking about in those two paragraphs?
5 A. I think she had frustration with
6 the length of time it took to get this story in the
7 paper. She wanted to tell me about the whole process
8 she had gone through. That's what I gather from
10 87 Q. And did she in fact have coffee
11 with you and pour out her heart on this?
12 A. I don't recall that, no.
13 88 Q. Do you recall any discussion at
14 all with her?
15 A. No.
16 89 Q. All right. Let me see that.
17 Thank you. Now, again, just to be clear, do I
18 understand correctly that it's possible some such
19 discussion took place, but given the length of time,
20 that has elapsed? If it did, you have forgotten it?
21 A. I don't recall having a discussion
22 with her after the fact like that at all.
23 90 Q. All right. And so again, I'm not
24 trying to put words in your mouth and just pause to
25 make sure I'm not inadvertently doing that. I'm
1 understanding from what you are saying that all --
2 that two things are true. First, you don't have a
3 recollection but, second, you think that it's very
4 probable, given your normal policy and the way things
5 normally worked, that in fact there was no such
6 discussion. Are those two statements correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. WILLIS: Thank you. Off the
9 record again.
10 --- Off-the-record discussion.
11 BY MR. WILLIS:
12 91 Q. Now, the last e-mail, 00144, is
13 dated Thursday, April 12th. It's an e-mail from you
14 to Donna Laframboise and it says:
15 "So, I've sent the story to David
16 Walmsley who is running the national desk on Good
17 Friday. I've told him it has to run (so hopefully it
18 will). Anyway, we will all have to jump out windows
19 Monday if it didn't. [name deleted]."
20 Now, in fact it didn't run, as we
21 understood it, until April the 17th. Now, clearly
22 there wasn't any mass defenestration at The National
23 Post, but given the context of these e-mails, I'm
24 wondering if it helps you remember what happened here
25 that caused a further delay.
1 A. I think again it was just the size
2 of the story and fitting it into the new section.
3 That's all I can remember. And if it didn't run for
4 another week, that must have been the problem, space.
5 92 Q. Now, Walmsley, W-A-L-M-S-L-E-Y,
6 was Walmsley someone, what was his role?
7 A. I was the [potentially identifying words
8 deleted]. David ran the sort of politics
9 government -- Ottawa news gathering. So he was the
10 -- I guess his official title was the politics
11 reporter. He handled all things to do with Ottawa.
12 93 Q. So how would he be involved now?
13 A. On a holiday, the editors rotate
14 in terms -- because you don't have a full complement
15 of people on Good Friday to put out a Saturday paper,
16 so editors rotate and become the editor for the whole
17 news operation for the holiday. So you don't have
18 all the editors in on a holiday. You rotate, and so
19 that would have been David's assigned date and be
20 [potentially identifying words deleted].
21 94 Q. But, in fact, if Thursday was
22 April 12th, then the story actually ran the following
23 Tuesday, April 17th, 2001.
24 A. Hmm-hmm.
25 95 Q. And by that time, you would have
1 been back in the saddle as [deleted] editor; is that
3 A. I don't know. I guess. Unless I
4 was off, yeah.
5 96 Q. You don't recall.
6 A. I don't recall if I was in on the
8 97 Q. Do I understand correctly that the
9 story was in fact 3,200 words, the story as finally
11 A. Is that right? Okay. I don't
13 98 Q. All right. So I'm gathering from
14 your earlier e-mail, when you said, well, if you can
15 cut it down to 1,000 words, I can do it, but a story
16 that was in excess of 2,000 words and in this case a
17 story with 3,200 words with a big picture of Louise
18 Malenfant with it, would be quite a large story.
19 A. Yeah. It's a whole page.
20 99 Q. Right. Now, with regard to the
21 picture of Louise Malenfant, who decides about which
22 picture goes in at that time? I should say who made
23 that decision?
24 A. The photo editor would decide on
25 the pictures.
1 100 Q. And who was that at the time?
2 A. I don't remember. There were so
3 many changes. I don't know who the photo editor was.
4 101 Q. Is it in the normal process, would
5 the reporter make a recommendation to the photo
6 editor as to what photo should run or provide photos?
7 A. No, no. The reporter works on the
8 story, tells the photo editor that there's a picture
9 possibility either of the person involved or one of
10 the players. The photo editor then takes over the
11 whole photo side of things, organizes the
12 photographer, go and take the picture, the
13 photographer sends the pictures to the photo editor
14 and the photo editor decides which picture will go
15 with which story.
16 102 Q. All right. Now, by the time you
17 got the story as [deleted] editor, I was asking you
18 about various ethical matters that might have cropped
19 up in the course of the story. Now, my understanding
20 from, just to give you at least what I hope your
21 counsel will think is sufficient background, my
22 understanding from Ms. Laframboise's testimony is
23 that in the discussion with Mr. Bouvier, who was as I
24 mentioned before, one of the people on the executive
25 of this MEN's group, that she recommended to him that
1 my client, Dr. Christensen, be removed or expelled
2 from the organization.
3 Now, assuming that a reporter, just as
4 a matter of general practice, if a reporter was going
5 to be involved in a story to that extent, that is to
6 say in making a recommendation as to what the
7 organization being covered should do, you'd assume by
8 the time it got to you, that that had been checked
9 out with a [potentially identifying words deleted]?
10 A. Yeah.
11 103 Q. But it certainly wasn't checked
12 out with you.
13 A. No.
14 104 Q. And that's the sort of thing that
15 would be sufficiently unusual, right, or you would
16 remember it probably.
17 A. Right.
18 105 Q. Thank you. Now, the other thing I
19 wanted to ask you about is the documentation that
20 would normally have been produced in The National
21 Post. In this particular -- in the development of
22 this particular story, again the evidence from Ms.
23 Laframboise is that she made a number of -- had a
24 number of telephone interviews which she recorded
25 without telling the other people they were being
2 Now, is this something that was
3 normally in the -- at that time in the discretion of
4 a reporter or was it something the reporter would
5 normally check with their superior before doing?
6 A. That's standard practice, you
7 wouldn't check that, no.
8 106 Q. Okay. With regard to documents
9 that were created, we have a lot of e-mails from
10 Louise Malenfant to Donna Laframboise but we don't
11 have the e-mails from -- we know that there were a
12 lot of e-mails from Laframboise to Malenfant and
13 those regrettably are no longer with us except for
14 one. Was there any policy, formal or informal, about
15 the retention of documentation on a matter of this
17 A. I don't recall any policy.
18 107 Q. If you knew or if there was a
19 threat of litigation, was there any policy as to the
20 retention of documents?
21 A. I don't recall. I suspect that we
22 would take direction from whatever the lawyers told
23 us to do.
24 108 Q. Now, in terms of, when I'm asking
25 about the normal process, of course I've learned
1 today that Donna Laframboise was not one of, what we
2 should call them, your stable of writers?
3 A. Right.
4 109 Q. And so that it would have been
5 someone else that she was checking things with. But
6 would you -- do you recall any discussion with her,
7 before the article which you've read, about
8 interviews with Dr. Christensen?
9 A. I don't recall any discussions
10 with her on that.
11 110 Q. In any event, she never asked your
12 advice about that.
13 A. I don't recall her asking me my
14 advice, no.
15 111 Q. Now, I think I asked you before
16 whether you would have expected that Ms. Laframboise
17 would have checked the background of her source to
18 determine whether her source had any particular bias
19 or pecuniary interest or anything of that sort, and I
20 believe you said you would assume she would have and
21 that would have been done before you got the story,
23 A. Right.
24 112 Q. If you have a whistleblower, let's
25 say, are there any circumstances in which you -- the
1 normal practice would be not to check into the
2 background of that whistleblower?
3 MR. WOODLEY: Are you talking about
4 the normal practice at The National Post, not his
5 opinion generally about --
6 BY MR. WILLIS:
7 113 Q. No, no, just normal practice.
8 A. What's the question, sorry?
9 114 Q. Are there any circumstances under
10 which, if we have a whistleblower like Ms. Malenfant
11 whose photo appears there and who we know is the main
12 source, are there any circumstances in which the
13 practice at The National Post would be not to check
14 into her background?
15 A. I think you would check into her
16 background. I think that would be the normal
18 115 Q. And in this respect, your lengthy
19 experience, I take it, it would indicate, this would
20 be the normal practice in any reputable newsroom,
22 A. Yeah.
23 MR. WOODLEY: Just a second. That's
24 asking for his opinion about journalistic standards
25 which he can't give.
1 BY MR. WILLIS:
2 116 Q. Sorry, let me just ask. In your
3 experience, that has been the normal practice
4 [potentially identifying words deleted] everywhere that
5 you've worked.
6 A. Yes.
7 117 Q. Sorry, I'm obliged to you. I'm
8 not trying to get his expert opinion. I'm just
9 trying to get his experience.
10 MR. WOODLEY: Yes.
11 MR. WILLIS: We've got experts to give
12 expert opinions, I agree. Okay.
13 BY MR. WILLIS:
14 118 Q. So that because, for example, in
15 your experience at The National Post, the fact that a
16 source had given valuable tips before, would not be
17 any reason to not check into the source -- to the
18 source's background or bona fides in the next story.
19 A. I presume that if the person has
20 given reasonable tips before, you've been vetting
21 that person along the way, yeah.
22 119 Q. All right. But if that hadn't
23 happened, the fact that the tips had been reasonable,
24 would be no excuse for not checking it out this time.
25 A. Right. You would check out the
1 information that was given, absolutely, yeah.
2 120 Q. May I just see that.
3 A. Yes.
4 121 Q. Now, with regard to the article of
5 April 17th, I understand that you have reread it in
6 preparation for today, correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 122 Q. As you reread it, do you recall
9 any concerns that you had about it at that time?
10 A. I don't recall any concerns I had
11 about it.
12 123 Q. All right. There's a bit of
13 italics on your word "concerns". Do you recall any
14 particular aspects of the article that stood out to
15 you at that time, that you may have -- that for any
16 reason may have been particularly drawn to your
18 A. No, I would have presumed that
19 this had gone to our lawyers and that Donna had
20 worked with them to make sure it was fine and that it
21 had gone through Ken or whatever editors it needed to
22 go to, so no.
23 124 Q. Were you aware at any time before
24 the article was published, that there had been a
25 threat of litigation from the lawyer Julian Porter?
1 A. On this story?
2 125 Q. Yes.
3 A. No, I didn't know that.
4 126 Q. And the name Julian Porter though
5 was familiar to you at the time?
6 A. He is familiar to me, yeah. I
7 know who Julian Porter is but I didn't know he had
8 issued a notice.
9 127 Q. And I'm not suggesting he issued a
10 notice but there's a fax. In any event, you knew who
11 he was at the time but you weren't aware that there
12 had been any letter or any threat from him.
13 A. I knew Julian Porter was a lawyer.
14 I didn't know he was a lawyer on this -- that had
15 anything to do with whatever Donna was doing, no. So
16 I had no idea.
17 128 Q. And similarly, a lawyer named
18 Wagman, you weren't aware of his involvement.
19 A. No.
20 129 Q. Now, I think there's an indication
21 here that Louise Malenfant took the rather unusual
22 step of contacting you directly. Do you recall
23 anyone else contacting you other than of course Donna
25 A. No.
1 130 Q. Would you normally have taken
2 notes of your -- for example, if Ms. Laframboise --
3 pardon me, if Ms. Malenfant contacted you, whether or
4 not she did contact you, would you normally have
5 taken notes of that discussion?
6 A. No.
7 131 Q. Would you normally have taken
8 notes of any discussions with Ms. Laframboise?
9 A. No.
10 132 Q. Had you ever heard of Dr.
11 Christensen or at any time before the article was
12 published, did you read any part of his book?
13 A. No.
14 133 Q. Did you listen to any of the
15 audiotapes of Ms. Laframboise's interviews or read
16 any of her correspondence that you can recall except
17 for the correspondence that's reproduced in one of
18 those e-mails from Louise Malenfant?
19 A. No.
20 134 Q. Now, at The National Post at that
21 time, was there any separate fact checking
23 A. No.
24 135 Q. Was there such a department at
25 [potentially identifying words deleted]?
1 A. No.
2 136 Q. With regard to, I know you had
3 [potentially identifying words deleted]
4 was the editorial set up with national editors
5 and bureau editors? Was it approximately the same
6 sort of set-up as you were familiar with or did it
7 differ? And I'm looking for the differences that
8 might be relevant to the preparation of this article.
9 A. It was approximately the same, but
10 I had come from [potentially identifying words deleted]
11 to The National Post, so
12 keeping those differences in mind, yeah, it had the
13 same basic structure, yeah.
14 137 Q. Did you know a man named, I'm just
15 going to get the spelling correct here because it's
16 an unusual name, John Turleyewart,
17 T-U-R-L-E-Y-E-W-A-R-T, who worked for The National
18 Post at around that time?
19 A. I think he was in the comment page
20 as well or a columnist or an opinion writer.
21 138 Q. Did you have any interaction with
23 A. No.
24 139 Q. Now, just again, I don't want to
25 sandbag you here, at page 51 -- let's just go off the
1 record and I'll review the passage that I'm just
2 going to refer you to.
3 --- Off-the-record discussion?
4 BY MR. WILLIS:
5 140 Q. I have just reviewed with you some
6 portions of Ms. Laframboise's discovery in which she
7 talks about discussions she had with Mr. Turleyewart.
8 Now, based on what we have in Exhibit 1, it would
9 appear that by the time she spoke to you, she was
10 very keen on getting the thing published and had
11 overcome any scruples she may have had about
12 publishing it, correct?
13 A. I presume, yeah.
14 141 Q. Now, she's referred to one
15 discussion with a peer. Given the ethical concerns
16 set out, perhaps I should just put that on the
17 record, but we'll just save a little bit of time, set
18 out at pages 51 and 52 that you've just reviewed of
19 her discovery, would you normally have expected from
20 The National Post at that time, that she might have a
21 discussion with whatever editor it was that was
22 supervising her?
23 A. I would presume she did, yeah. I
24 would have a discussion with one of my reporters
25 about that kind of thing, yeah.
1 142 Q. So of course the reporters might
2 talk to their peers but you would expect that kind of
3 thing would be raised with an editor as well.
4 A. Right.
5 MR. WILLIS: Thank you. Mr. [deleted],
6 thank you very much. Subject to any questions that
7 may arise out of the production of additional
8 documentation or any in respect of which your memory
9 is refreshed as a result of the undertakings, what
10 may arise actually out of the undertakings
11 themselves, those are all my questions.
12 MR. WOODLEY: Great.
13 --- Whereupon the proceedings adjourned at 11:20 a.m.
14 I HEREBY CERTIFY THE FOREGOING
15 to be a true and accurate
16 transcription of my shorthand notes
17 to the best of my skill and ability.
20 Voula Kirkos, CSR
21 Computer-Aided Transcription