Thursday, October 10, 2002
B.C. NDP Party
Premier Gordon Campbell is sneaking through a change to BC's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation that will prevent British Columbians from accessing a wide variety of previously obtainable government documents, Opposition Leader Joy MacPhail said today.
Through amendments included in Bill 62, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 3), the Freedom of Information Act will no longer apply to any committees that include a cabinet minister, including the executive management committees of all 28 government ministries.
"This government claimed that it would be the most open and accountable government in BC history, but what we've seen instead is one of the most secretive administrations ever," said MacPhail. "Given the incompetence of this government, and given the embarrassments that information previously released under FOI has caused them, it's no wonder they want to hide from public scrutiny."
MacPhail said that government documents previously released under FOI that would no longer be available would include ministry communications plans, revenue and taxation forecasts and briefing notes for ministers.
"Premier Campbell talks a great line about wanting government to be more inclusive and to encourage public participation. Bill 62 turns out the lights on a vital aspect of public scrutiny."