Monday, March 12, 2007
BREAKING NEWS: BILL 6 ELIMINATING OUR RIGHT TO KNOW, HAS PASSED.
Bill 6, Public Inquiry Act, reported complete without amendment, read a third time ... and passed 4:40PM Thursday 15 March 2007. The vote was 36 to 21. Notably missing: Premier Gordon Campbell, Opposition Leader Carole James. http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/38th3rd/H70315y.htm
"Without public discussion" ... "with no debate in the Legislature" ... and now Bill 6 to legalize suppression of Public Inquiry findings ... these things seem to be part of a procedure for allowing the loss of huge public assets. For an exceptionally informative video describing the loss of another huge public asset, please (you'll be glad you did) click onto: http://www.workingtv.com/saveourrivers/2007/apr/dvdweb/hintstream/qt/april2007_01.mov
The Public Inquiry Act, Bill 6 nick-named the Secret Inquiry Act by the Opposition, came back before the current session of the B.C. Legislature after being shelved by the B.C. Liberal Government last spring.
Leonard Krog, the NDP Opposition justice critic, said the bill strikes at the right of British Columbians to know precisely what their government is doing.
Bill 6, if allowed to pass into law, would see reports from public inquiries be delivered to a minister, rather than to the Legislature. As it stands now, Cabinet would have the ability to withhold part or all of the inquiry's report.
"The Opposition has been calling for a public inquiry into the sale of B.C. Rail because of questions around the sale process and about the new owner's spotty safety record," Krog said.
"The B.C. Liberals want to have the power to decide what happens to the results of such an inquiry. This bill would allow them to keep the report secret."
[I've kept my promise that this blog would be non-partisan. Bill 6, in my opinion, crosses party lines and affects us all. Public accountability is an essential part of a Public Inquiry ... or why have one?
Let's persuade our M.L.A.s to kill Bill 6 in its present form, then to make the Public Inquiry Act fully accountable to the Legislature and to the public.
And let's hope that -- whatever the outcome of the trial of Basi, Virk, Basi -- there's a Public Inquiry followed by published findings telling us exactly what happened to B.C. Rail. - BC Mary.]
Special thanks to "dl" for sending in this news.
So then how could it be called a PUBLIC INQUIRY? I don't believe that Cabinet and public are synonyms. For as long as I can remember Cabinet privilege and Orders in Council have been the easiest and most common methods of subverting democracy. If it ain't PUBLIC it ain't a public inquiry - end of story!
But now the Public Inquiry Act is back -- still in its imperfect form -- and the Opposition is fighting it again.
Will you telephone your M.L.A. and ask that Bill 6 be sent back for revisions again? Because, the way I figure, it's B.C. Rail which will be the first
issue which needs to be fully revealed.
And the findings reported to the B.C. Legislature (that means us) sooner ... like, within 14 days ... not delayed.
We could ask Wally to think about changing the Act. He'll have some quiet time to think, when he's off duty having that surgery.
We could explain the beauty of a democratic society and how happy the people would be to get the answers they'd paid the inquiry to find.
We could say he should abolish Public Inquiries altogether, if we're never to know what they find out.
Might work. Make it a nice handwritten note inside a Get Well card. Yeah?
Well, we can look up the word "rescind" and write that Get Well card to Wally Oppal telling him that he's going to feel much, much better if he RESCINDS that shocking Bill 6.
How do you feel about holding a Public Inquiry into the "sale" of B.C. Rail now?