A small Regina-based magazine is responding to a recent decision made by the province’s Information and Privacy Commissioner regarding the northern village of Pinehouse’s financial records.

Earlier this year, an investigative journalist with Briarpatch magazine had made numerous complaints regarding a freedom of information request he’d made of the Village, saying he’d been stonewalled. D’Arcy Hande had asked for all correspondence and documentation of “relating to Canada Revenue Agency’s action against Pinehouse Business North Development Inc. (PBN) in 2009 to 2011 that resulted in freezing PBN’s bank account and PBN’s subsequent restructuring.”

The May request for information netted no results, and in July Hande submitted a request for review to the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

After investigation, Commissioner Ronald Kruzeniski agrees that the Village did not provide all of what Hande requested, but his report says the Village has made a reasonable search effort and the records simply aren’t there.

“Well I guess if the records aren’t there, they’re not there. I mean I have to take the report that was issued by the Information Commissioner as fact. But at the same time what I question is why were not these questions which do make the village accountable, why were they not asked? Why do we not have records there, because they’re records that should have been retained legally? So why are they not there, why is it that they can’t be found?” Hande said.

Hande says the commissioner’s report leaves a lot of questions unanswered and says he’s worried about what’s being withheld from the public.

“It’s really concerning as far as investigative journalism when a small local authority can basically obstruct your attempts to get public documents, in fact don’t even seem to have the documents but there’s no explanation as to why,” he said.

Briarpatch Magazine and the northern village of Pinehouse have a contentious record. The two have already been through court proceedings, in which Briarpatch tried to uncover details of  a $200 million collaboration agreement between Pinehouse and uranium mining companies Cameco and Areva.

Hande doesn’t expect to fight any further for the documents, in terms of court battles. He pointed out Briarpatch is a grassroots magazine, and he’s just one man.