Act could override FOI laws

Columnist Diana French from Williams Lake raises her eyebrows at how the Animal Health Act could override FOI laws.

It’s lilac time. As regular readers of this column know, lilacs are my favourite. Before so many of them fell to development, they were everywhere in Williams Lake. Granted, it wasn’t a pleasant time for people with allergies, but the whole town sure smelled good. The lilac is the city’s official flower, although you’d never know it. They are strangely lacking from most city properties. Judging from the look of many lawns this spring (including mine) maybe the dandelion should be our official flower.

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Some B.C. cabinet ministers like to call those who disagree with them communists/socialists. That’s so 1950s, but when they aim at critics of BC Hydro they are really off base.

It was Social Credit Premier W.A.C. Bennett (hardly a lefty) who instituted BC Hydro. BC Rail was already a Crown corporation but Mr. Bennett “unprivatized” the BC Ferries and the three corporations served British Columbians well for half a century. One of the reasons Premier Gordon Campbell gave for selling BC Rail was that it was losing money. After years of success under several governments, BC Hydro is now deeply in debt. Does that make it ripe for sale? Or has it been sold out already?

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When salmon  farms were first introduced, they seemed like a good idea. When evidence to the contrary began appearing, senior governments sided with the industry denying anything was wrong. Now farms on both sides of the U.S./Canada border are destroying thousands of their fish because of a virus. Guess what? Disease was exactly what the critics were warning about. Now the provincial government wants to make it illegal for any citizen, including journalists, to discuss any kind of animal contamination or disease outbreaks (bird flu, fish-farm viruses, mad cow disease, etc.) and the Animal Health Act apparently will override Freedom of Information laws. Can somebody explain to me how this is in the public interest?

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.