Hangs on to Emails
is it about the Campbell government and emails? On the day
Elizabeth Bennett ordered the Premier and several of his ministers
to produce emails in the BC Rail corruption case, I too
encountered problems in getting copies of emails.
June 2007 I attempted
to get information on MSP premium subsidies with a freedom
of information request to the Ministry of Finance. It referred
me to the Ministry of Health which extended the time for responding
to my request on the grounds that it had to confer with another
public body. It turned out that other public body was the
Ministry of Finance; the Ministry of Health conferred with
its own Director of Communications who as part of the Public
Affairs Bureau (PAB) was in the Ministry of Finance and that
was used to justify further delays in answering my query.
I am experiencing déjà vue all over again!
discovered, as a result of an FOI, that PAB was responsible
for suppressing the release of welfare case statistics during
the election campaign. When the statistics were finally released
they showed that temporary assistance caseloads were increasing
by 50%, something that would have caused further questions
about the accuracy of the government's budget if the statistics
had been released during the election. In a subsequent FOI,
I asked for: 1) Any general policy statement issued since
May 2005 regarding delaying the release of information during
the election, the interregnum period, 2) Any statements regarding
the authority of the Public Affairs Bureau, or its staff,
to delay the release of information, and 3) Any emails between
November 1, 2008 and May 13, 2009, suggesting or directing
that information not be released during the interregnum period
(similar to those sent to the Ministry of Housing and Social
Development). The deadline under the Act for PAB to respond
to that request was July 28, but today I received noticed
that the deadline would be extended because my request requires
consultation with another public body. That delays the deadline
to September 10.
further FOI has been submitted asking for copies of all emails
concerning my initial request, copies of all emails and other
documents involving consultation with respect to my initial
request and the names of any public bodies that are consulted
with respect to my initial request.
might ask why an open and honest government wouldn't promptly
provide this information in the first place, but as is being
learned in the BC Rail corruption case, openness is not a
hallmark of the Campbell government.