Posted Fall of 2021
We need your help to send government MLAs a message!
On November 25th, the BC legislative session is scheduled to end. The Government will either use its majority to ram Bill 22 through or it will remain on the Order Paper until the start of the new legislative session in February 2022.
Bill 22 amends the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and reduces your access to government information. Colin Gabelman, the Attorney General who first introduced FIPPA, sees this as a step backwards. Civil society is speaking out against this Bill. The independent Information and Privacy Commissioner is critical of Bill 22.
BC’s FIPPA used to be viewed as one of the best in Canada. Bill 22 erodes government transparency and reduces the province to mediocre status at best, lowering the bar across the country. On top of all of this, the introduction of the Bill at this time undermines the work of the all-party special legislative committee whose specific task is to review and make recommendations for changes to FIPPA. This majority government continues to attempt to ram through Bill 22.
If this majority government rams through Bill 22 , it will impact the citizens of British Columbia now, haunt us into the future, and set a dangerous precedent across Canada. This same majority government has the opportunity to demonstrate that they are responsive to the public and committed to transparency by withdrawing this Bill. Such a move would take courage on their part and encouragement from us.
Our message is simple: Transparency matters to all of us. Stop Bill 22.
We created the form below. An email address is necessary. We’ve suggested some text you may want to use but you can edit it (please be respectful). We’ve pre created three groups: the government cabinet, the government committee members, and all government members. You can also select individual government MLA’s you want to send the message to by checking the box next to their name. Once you are ready, you can hit submit. The email is sent to the MLAs you selected and CC’d to the email you entered. FIPA does not store any of this information on our website.
Our Message to Government MLAs
Transparency matters to all of us. Stop Bill 22.
We have shared democratic values and I would like to think that we both believe in the fundamental need to increase the transparency of public bodies by reducing barriers and improving access to information. You said you were going to make improvements as recently as 2017. Your proposed amendments in Bill 22 fail to meet those commitments or make things better.
I find it hard to believe that you are improving accountability or improving my access to information – especially when you see it more important to shield the Premier’s office from scrutiny and put in place a transparency tax.
Colin Gabelmann, the original drafter of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act, an MLA like yourself, sees this as a step backwards. The independent commissioner has serious concerns. A review by the Centre for Law and Democracy indicates the changes mean you are lowering the bar across Canada and moving BC toward mediocrity. A broad swath of civil society is united in opposition to these changes. I’m starting to doubt whether you are putting people first and question whether I can trust you and your mandate letters. Don’t you think that you are on the wrong side of this one?
I’m asking you to reconsider these actions:
- Withdraw this Bill
- Recognize the role of all-party special committee and allow it to complete its work, including an open consultation process
- Commit, on record, to introduce comprehensive amendments to FIPPA that reflect the recommendations of past and current special committees.
Please help me regain trust in public bodies by being more transparent instead of taking a step backwards.