The spring sitting of the BC Legislature has wrapped up with a lot of talk about information and transparency, but with little action.
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.
Two very important orders rolled out of the B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner's office, closing a massive loophole that allowed public bodies in this province to avoid properly responding to Freedom of Information requests.
Canada's relationship with First Nations peoples is a rapidly accelerating failure, borne of its contempt for international and national law, and an overarching moral weakness, outgrowths of its atrophied sense of self.
In June, 2013, the 300 strong Hupacasath First Nation launched a court action with the Federal Court to stop ratification of a proposed 31-year trade treaty that, among other things, gives Chinese companies unprecedented power over Canadian resources. The Chief Justice of the Federal Court presided over the hearings, and a decision will be made by the end of August, or in early September.
Corporate empowerment deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the as yet unratified Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA), a bilateral agreement with China, empower corporations to the extent that government legislation becomes subordinated to corporate profits. There are ways to combat this, but it will not be easy.
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.