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Thursday, June 18, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Court Imposes Media Ban on Cellared in Canada Water Content Discussions

TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine New Services) – In a stunning blow to wine democracy, an Ontario judge has just imposed a ban on media reporting about talks between the Association for Cellared in Canada Wines (ACCW) and the Government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, asserting that privacy trumps the public's right to know.


In a decision that could cripple reporters' efforts to write on behind-the-scene negotiations, the judge said that the press had no right to share a tip obtained from a source who wasn't supposed to leak the information.


The ruling by Superior Court Justice Brettan O'Myces backs the ACCW, whose lawyer went to court to prevent the Ontario Wine Review from reporting on the ACCW's out-of-court talks with the Government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province.


The Ontario government had allegedly colluded with the ACCW to suppress the details of the constituent parts of the Cellared in Canada wines.


At one time, CIC wines were to be 70% Canadian wine in content, with the remainder being a mixture of imported wines and water. Eight years ago, due to Ontario grape crop shortages, the blend became 99% imported wines and/or water, plus 1% Canadian wines and/or water. Then it stabilized, but the legislators, by misreading, managed to reverse the original percentages, and there is now a requirement that CIC wines can be up to 70% imported wines with filling out by Canadian wines, plus some water.


The Ontario Wine Review had attempted to find details about the water content, as specified by the RSO Water, er, Wine Content Act.


Judge O'Myces had already imposed a publication ban on the major Ontario newspapers. (How else to explain their shocking silence on the matter of adding water to wine, which is known as the Jesus Factor?).


In his written judgement, Justice O'Myces wrote that ACCW and the Government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, were trying to reach a deal and both sides wanted the talks to remain confidential.


When asked to comment, the lawyer for the Ontario Wine Review, Commie Pinko, said reporting on the negotiations is in the public interest since it involves taxpayer dollars. Once the information is leaked to a reporter, he said, it becomes part of the public dissemination of knowledge, churgling through the Internet. He went on to state that the fault was with the ACCW and the Government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province, and not with the journalist who merely reported the leaks. No information was obtained by wiretaps or eavesdropping.


"There must be safeguards for reporters to write about non-public events that are in the public interest", he said. He went on to compare the issue of the cover-up of the water content in CIC wines to Watergate and the Pentagon papers.


Justice Brett O'Myces said that Pinko could be charged with contempt of court, and he extended the court order to also forbid reporting on the content and even the existence of talks between the Association for Cellared in Canada Wines (ACCW) and the Government of Ontario, A Have-Not Province.


Top investigative wine reporter Brett Grimsby has been following this story for weeks now, and he filed his report based on several interviews with Miffed Mole, the collective name for sources who are familiar with the situation, and who spoke to him on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge details while they were very close to the centre of discussions and while the matter under consideration had not yet been finalized nor announced to the public. While the decisions may or may not have been finalized internally, and while an announcement on the matter may or may not be imminent, possibly within the next week or two, that specific timeline is not really known.


This debate between freedom of expression and the protection of privacy centres around the answers to the following questions being discussed by Miffed Mole: Just how much water can be added? Is the water to be filtered? Should there be a taste panel called Water Quality Alliance? What scoring parameters should be used? How best can we market this diluted product? How can we justify an LCBO mark-up on water? Can water be taxed separately? Is the water always inspected for E. coli. ? Bottom line: just how much can we get away with and make tons of money?


GOSH Wine News Services is not sure how long it will be in operation since we are reporting in the face of a court-dictated media ban. More on this story as it develops, and as we continue to fight for the rights of wine democracy in Ontario, Soon to Be A Have-Water-Have-Not-Wine Province. The truth will never ever be suppressed…


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