This decision dealt with objections raised by the Globe and Mail
to orders that would have required it to reveal a journalist's
confidential source. The source provided information regarding the
"Sponsorship Scandal" sought by a party in a civil action
that arose out of the Scandal.
The Court affirmed the existence of journalist-source privilege.
The applicability of the privilege to a given relationship is to be
determined by the Wigmore test. The Court specifically affirmed
that Wigmore could be applied under Quebec's Civil Code. The
Court held that civil procedure in Quebec is not completely
detached from the common law model and common law principles may
play a "residual role."
The Court provided guidance in applying the Wigmore test in this
context. Questions regarding a source must be relevant. The Court
noted that the fourth stage of Wigmore, which involves considering
if the benefit of revealing the evidence outweighs the harm of
disclosure, is the most significant aspect of the test. Key factors
to consider in this assessment include the stage of the
proceedings, the centrality of the issue in dispute, the
relationship of the journalist to the proceedings and other
available sources of the information. The decision, however, is
ultimately a contextual one. Whether the privilege applied to the
journalist-source relationship at issue was remitted back to the
Quebec Superior Court.
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