Saturday, 10 March 2018 02:16

Canadian Archives sued over release of Louis Mortimer Bloomfield papers

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Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has once again barred the public from accessing the personal documents of this assassination suspect.

In some Kennedy assassination circles, where theories about who was responsible for the murder of President John F. Kennedy are discussed, Louis Mortimer Bloomfield, Montreal lawyer and philanthropist, has for many decades been considered a suspect. Bloomfield is mentioned is several books on the JFK case, including Jim Garrison’s best-seller On the Trail of the Assassins. Michael Benson’s desk encyclopedia Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination, devotes two pages to him. In reading those pages, Bloomfield relates to both Clay Shaw and the mysterious European organization called Permindex. The suspicions about him did not stop Bloomfield from donating his personal papers to Library and Archives Canada (LAC). He donated his papers to LAC with only one stipulation, that they be made available to the public 20 years after his death.1 He died in 1984 and in 2004, Montreal based researcher Maurice Philipps asked LAC to give him access to Bloomfield’s papers and LAC said no. Philipps took the archives to court and in 2006 the court ordered LAC to release Bloomfield’s papers to the public.2

Now LAC has done it again. They have again barred the public from accessing Bloomfield’s papers. The reason cited for their action is “client-solicitor” privilege. As the papers donated to the archives contain letters from Bloomfield to his clients, they are protected by “client-solicitor” privilege and therefore cannot be viewed by the public. But this argument does not sync with the facts of this case. When the files were to be opened to the public in 2004, it was not “client-solicitor” privilege that was the stated reason for barring access to them. The reason for their refusal was Bloomfield’s widow, Mrs. Justine Stern Bloomfield, who asked that they not be released until 10 years after her death citing “… privacy concerns and safeguarding Mr. Bloomfield’s reputation.” 3

So why did LAC again block access to Bloomfield’s papers? There can be any number of reasons; it could be fallout from the release of the JFK files in 2017. Did this trigger concerns that more conspiracy theories would be created about Bloomfield’s alleged participation in JFK’s assassination? Is there information in the files that they do not want the public to see? In his letters to his clients did he mention the name of Clay Shaw or some other person that may have been investigated by Jim Garrison during his investigation of Kennedy’s murder? The result of their action however can only create more suspicion about Bloomfield. What do they not want the public to see?

Support, however, for the opening of his papers to the public has come from an unlikely source: Bloomfield’s nephew, Harry Bloomfield, who is also a lawyer and who lives in Montreal. In a story regarding Philipp’s battle with LAC to gain access to Bloomfield’s papers, it was stated that “Bloomfield's nephew says he sees no reason to keep the papers shielded from public view. Montrealer Harry Bloomfield says the fight to keep his uncle's papers behind a veil of secrecy is likely fuelling conspiracy theories tying Bloomfield to JFK's assassination—theories that he says are completely unfounded.”4

This author has taken LAC back to court. In the case of John Kowalski v Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, the author has asked the Federal Court of Canada to overturn LAC’s decision to block access to Bloomfield’s papers. The case will be heard by the court over the next few months and the author will update Kennedys and King on the outcome of it when it has been decided by the court.

1 Philipps v. Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Date: 2006-11-14, Neutral citation 2006 FC 1378,

File numbers: T-1517-05, section 3, Federal Court of Canada, Federal Court Decision database.

2 Philipps v. Librarian and Archivist of Canada, “Judgement.”

3 Philipps v. Librarian and Archivist of Canada, section 10.

4 E. Thompson “Dispute over releasing archives keeps lid on potential link to JFK's death” CanWest News Service, January 27, 2007.

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