Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)

MLA’s CORNER: Canada’s most secretive government is B.C.

John Horgan’s NDP government received an award recently, but it’s not the type of honour anyone should be proud of. The Canadian Association of Journalists handed them the Code of Silence award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Secrecy.

It’s because of this government’s efforts to block the public’s right to information through its new legislation that slaps a $10 fee on Freedom of Information requests for government records, expands the data-linking powers of government and reduces oversight.

But I would argue there are other examples of the NDP being secretive. They’ve tried to hide information on everything from seniors’ care during the pandemic to wildfire recovery information.

It’s that last point that is particularly disturbing, when you consider how much our wildfire-affected communities have suffered. For people in places like Lytton, who have lost nearly everything, or many ranchers here in the Cariboo-Chilcotin still recovering from last year’s fires, information is all they’ve got.

I was shocked when the NDP Minister of Municipal Affairs recently had the audacity to ask my colleague, Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart, to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) so she wouldn’t share important wildfire recovery information with her constituents in Lytton. An MLA should not have to sign an NDA to find out what the government is doing to rebuild a local community, nor promise to keep her constituents in the dark.

We’ve been through a lot here in Cariboo-Chilcotin as well, and we’ve had our own struggles trying to get information on the government decisions and disaster response efforts in our communities. From fires to floods to road repairs and maintenance, people want to know why government approached these events in the ways that it did, and know when and what kind of help is coming.

But this is a government that prefers to hoard information, putting up barriers to stop people from getting the details they deserve. It’s shameful, and it needs to stop.

READ MORE: B.C. cabinet minister didn’t mislead legislature over FOI fee, speaker rules


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