March 12, 2015
VICTORIA – New Democrats have introduced legislation that would make government more open and accountable as part of a wide-ranging package of reforms introduced this spring.
“The B.C. Liberal government is mired in scandals where the truth is never uncovered because records were never kept, or they have been hidden from the public,” said New Democrat spokesperson for citizen services Doug Routley. “One of the worst examples of this was seen in the Liberal health firings scandal when an internal review found it impossible to discover who was responsible and why it happened.
“The report said everyone blamed everyone else and no one seemed to have kept records of the decision that caused several people to lose their jobs, and one take their own life.”
Routley said, “It is unbelievable that these sorts of records aren’t produced, or aren’t kept. Governments should not be allowed to avoid accountability on serious matters by simply saying there are no records.”
Legislation introduced by Routley on Thursday would ensure government keeps records and makes them available to the public. The legislation also would make the disclosure of executive calendars routine, and would widen the scope of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act to subsidiaries and corporations of public bodies. The bill would also ensure that the public interest truly is paramount, and would make fees associated with FOI requests more reasonable in order to expand general public access to information.
Gary Holman, New Democrat spokesperson for democratic reform said, “This bill adds to the suite of legislation introduced already this session by New Democrats that would make government work better, and be more accountable.
“British Columbians are becoming more and more disillusioned with government and it is the responsibility of elected officials to turn things around, and bring openness and integrity back to our democracy.”
Holman said the final pieces of democratic reform legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks.