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Ethics and Confidentiality: Reflections and Lessons Learned Post-Parent and Bruckert v R and Magnotta

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 December 2021

Alexander McClelland
Affiliation:
Assistant Professor, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Carleton University alexander.mcclelland@carleton.ca
Chris Bruckert
Affiliation:
Professor, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa bruckert@uottawa.ca

Abstract

In May 2012, a former research assistant contacted the Montréal police about an interview he had conducted with Luka Magnotta for the SSHRC-funded research project Sex Work and Intimacy: Escorts and their Clients four years previously. That call ultimately resulted in the Parent and Bruckert v R and Magnotta case. Now, a decade later, we are positioned to reflect on the collective lessons learned (and lost) from the case. In this paper, we provide a lay of the Canadian confidentiality landscape before teasing out ten lessons from Parent c R. To do so, we draw on personal archives, survey results from sixty researchers, twelve key informant interviews with qualitative sociolegal and criminology researchers, and documentary analysis of university research policies. The lessons, which range from the clichéd, to the practical, to the frustrating, have implications for the individual work of Canadian researchers and for the collective work of academic institutions.

Résumé

Résumé

En mai 2012, un ancien assistant de recherche a contacté la police de Montréal au sujet d’une entrevue qu’il avait réalisée avec Luka Magnotta dans le cadre d’un projet de recherche financé par le Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada (CRSH), un projet intitulé Sex Work and Intimacy: Escorts and their Clients et qui avait été réalisé quatre ans auparavant. Cet appel a donné lieu à une affaire juridique, soit Parent et Bruckert c R et Magnotta. Dix ans plus tard, nous sommes maintenant en mesure de réfléchir aux leçons collectives tirées (et perdues) de cette affaire. Dans cette foulée, cet article donne un aperçu du paysage canadien de la confidentialité avant de tirer dix leçons de Parent c R. Pour ce faire, nous nous appuyons sur des archives personnelles, les résultats d’un sondage mené auprès de soixante chercheurs, douze entrevues avec des informateurs clés, des chercheurs en sociologie juridique et en criminologie qui utilisent des méthodes de recherches qualitatives, ainsi qu’une analyse documentaire des politiques de recherche universitaire. Ces leçons, qui vont des clichés aux frustrations en passant par les aspects pratiques, entraînent des répercussions sur le travail individuel des chercheurs canadiens et sur le travail collectif des institutions universitaires.

Type
Articles
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Canadian Law and Society Association

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Footnotes

*

Chris would like to thank Melissa Munn, Okanogan College; although she is not part of the public story told in this paper, her support and guidance were invaluable as Chris sought to navigate the ethics breach terrain—Melissa remains the paradigm of a scholar who walks the talk! Alexander would like to thank Viviane Namaste for her vision and guidance, and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, which enabled this research to be possible. Finally, Alexander and Chris would like to thank Neha Chugh for her insight, and the reviewers for their thoughtful engagement in our work.

References

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