The headlines were emphatic: "Quick wins amounted to little for NDP"; "Quick wins report lands with a dull thud." But behind the headlines something unsettling: a window into a culture of seeming impunity, where players are told anything goes, do whatever it takes to win.
health ministry firings, multicultural outreach strategy and what some are calling deletegate -- they demand finesse and there's a definite pattern to how the government goes about it. Its damage control manual seems to come with instructions: mix and match to fit, use sparingly and only as required.
This was a spring session that was full of blows to information rights in B.C. Changing the law to make sure nobody is able to be held legally responsible for their actions in misusing government information has been a common theme.
Make no mistake: drugs are big business, even the behind-the-counter kind.
She ended her letter to the minister with a call to action: "It is vital for open and accountable government that, whatever the form of the entity, if it is carrying on public business, it should be subject to the [Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act]." Two and a half years later, there is still no sign of action from the government.
Since 2009, the Liberals have shuffled ministers in and out of the Ministers of Citizens' Services and Open Government role so quickly that there's hardly been a chance to make any meaningful progress.
The B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, sent all four parties a questionnaire pushing them for clear positions on how they would stop the erosion of our privacy rights and defend our access to government records through Freedom of Information. On April 30th, we received responses from the NDP, the Liberals, and the Greens (we've yet to hear back from the Conservatives). They all had interesting, if decidedly different things to say.
The phoney campaign has finally given way to the real thing. The writ is dropped, the legislature is dissolved and politicians are out on the hustings. And as voters know well, that means big, glitzy promises. But imagine promises that wouldn't need sod-turnings or ribbon cuttings? Meaningful promises that every party can sign-on to, because they're about good government, not party ideology.
A few short days from now, the writ will drop on the 2013 provincial election, kicking off twenty-eight days of heated campaigning. And while there's no shortage of issues for voters to consider, recent controversies around government secrecy and attempts to undermine Freedom of Information make it clear that information policy should be a top priority for voters.
Apparently the illegal scanning of licence plates by Victoria police will continue until fixes are implemented. Unlike their counterparts in Saanich and Ottawa, Victoria police have no intention of switching off the cameras during privacy compliance upgrades.