EDITORIAL: Getting information is a right

The NDP government needs to keep this promise

The public’s faith in government has always been tenuous and B.C.’s leaders have certainly been no exception to that fundamental truth.

Trust, we’ve learned, is earned and tends to be rooted in transparency.

That trust was seriously eroded under the leadership of Christie Clark who, in 1996, said (with media present) “If I had won the battle in cabinet, we wouldn’t have Freedom of Information.”

Hardly inspiring.

But when the government changed, the NDP promised a moral reawakening. Transparency, they said, would become a priority.

Unfortunately for politicians, we can all best be judged, not by the promises made, but on those kept. Despite its commitments, the NDP has not lived up to its high-minded campaign rhetoric about transparency.

Sure, there have been modest improvements in erasing the culture of secrecy established under the previous government. But baby steps are not enough.

It’s still possible for officials to seal records regarding policy advice, including all facts and analysis that were used to develop that advice.

Wholly owned subsidiaries of government are still excluded from freedom of information laws.

And it’s still possible for documents to be destroyed or never created. There is nothing to prevent minutes from just not being created if there is a thought that a pesky FOI request might uncover an unseemly discussion.

All of these factors still lead to blank responses to FOI requests.

Finally, there is no mandatory notification required when the privacy of citizens has been breached. Those breaches are not hypothetical; they have occurred in the past and will happen again.

It’s why the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association has launched a petition urging the provincial government to keep it’s promises regarding government transparency.

It’s a petition that should never have been required, of course, as we count on politicians to keep promises that involve one of the fundamental principles that got them elected in the first place.

In the end, Premier John Horgan and his ministers need to realize that a government that holds themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody. We believe that Horgan and his crew are better than that. It’s time to earn that trust.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Light up August with a lantern building workshop in Sidney

ArtSea workshops in preparation for Aug. 24 Salish Sea Lantern Festival

Colwood field lacrosse camp aims to get more kids involved

Victoria Field Youth Lacrosse hopes to inspire future athletes

Esquimalt gives six-storey rental complex the green light

A new apartment building is set to go up on Admirals Road

Victoria veteran receives French Legion of Honour, becoming knight of France

Ted Vaughan was a pilot in the 408 “Goose” Squadron in WW2

Witness the passion and fire of flamenco in Victoria this July

Seventh annual Victoria Flamenco Festival features free and ticketed performances downtown

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Most Read