Transparency was fought for

Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson says the BC government is not displaying the kind of transparency our veterans fought for.

Recently in the legislature the Official Opposition was honored to host Mohamed Fahmy, the award-winning Canadian journalist who spent 438 days in an infamous Cairo prison for simply doing his job, for doing what we in B.C. take for granted.

Fahmy was jailed after a mock trial that was denounced as a travesty of justice around the world. Through miraculous efforts, especially by his now wife Marwa Omara, he was pardoned Sept. 23 and returned to Canada.

He is now a journalist-in-residence and visiting fellow at UBC’s Global Reporting Centre and on Oct. 27 he spoke to MLA’s at the legislature.

One statement Fahmy made that day stuck with me. He said the “transparency of information is important for all of us.”

Coming from the source that is Mohamed Fahmy, it couldn’t have been more poignant given our revelations of the deceit and delete culture the Premier has fostered when it comes to public information held by her government.

And the timing, with Remembrance ceremonies upon us, couldn’t have been much more poignant either.

Men and women died and families sacrificed greatly to ensure we live in a society where transparency, accountability and openness are the hallmarks of good government.

Yet the Christy Clark led provincial government continues to behave and make decisions counter to those values.

The most recent example in the deceit and delete disgrace was the revelation that a $3 billion pre-2013 election announcement by the Premier to replace the Massey tunnel with a new bridge over the Fraser River was supported by no documents in her office.

Once again Freedom of Information requests came back with no records. No business case, nothing, for a $3 billion decision to spend taxpayer dollars.

It is beyond belief that no records were kept in the Premier’s office on this type of spending and it points out the delete culture is alive and well with this government.  The same culture that led to the destruction of documents by the transportation ministry on missing and murdered aboriginal women along Highway 16 and the lack of documents on the wrongful dismissal of eight government health care researchers.

That is not the kind of transparency of information Mohamed Fahmy went to jail to defend or our veterans fought for.

 

Doug Donaldson is MLA for Stikine.