Saskatchewan’s justice minister isn’t ruling out changes to legislation in response to a new policy by the Regina Police Service.
Last week, Chief Evan Bray defended the policy which allows him to hold back names of murder victims from the public on a case-by-case basis. The policy is supported by Saskatchewan’s privacy commissioner and is the result of an interpretation of the Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act which came into effect as of Jan. 1.
While on Gormley Tuesday, Justice Minister Don Morgan explained he first wants to hold more discussions with the police chief before looking at the law.
“Failing that, it would be open to (the government) to go back and amend the legislation,” said Morgan. “I’m not holding that as a threat but our expectation is that (Chief Bray) should have a careful look at it, have another meeting with the privacy commissioner and review his policy.
Morgan said he believes Chief Bray has approached this policy from the fundamentally wrong direction.
He explained the starting point should be that names are released except in rare cases, like pending next-of-kin notification or if it would compromise an ongoing investigation.
“The right of the public to know should be paramount in almost all cases that exist,” he said.
Morgan believes police should err on giving too much information rather than too little. He said if something happens in your neighbourhood, you should know and use that information to protect yourself.
Morgan does not believe that a family member should have the ability to keep the name of their murdered relative from being made public.
“I can understand the sensitivity around those family members. I can understand how they might feel but I think the interest of the public should be paramount and should take priority.”