A conspiracy of silence?

It took BC Hydro Corp. just over seven months to award power contracts to two controversial coal-fired power plants - which some environmentalists estimate could push British Columbia's greenhouse gas emissions up by roughly 2.5 percent. But the Sierra Legal Defense Fund has waited more than five months for the government to respond to a request for any records it has about that announcement (such as the environmental and public health impacts those plants will have on the province). And, guess what? The defense fund is still waiting - with the documents expected to arrive sometime in early February. This, despite the fact, British Columbia's freedom of information legislation gives the ministry of environment 30 working days to respond to such a request - plus a few extensions.

Of course, such delays won't come as a surprise to the staff lawyer who filed that request. In 2005, Sean Nixon signed his name to a University of Victoria environmental law centre letter asking information and privacy commissioner David Loukidelis to investigate "an apparent system-wide pattern" whereby government has made it "more and more difficult" for organizations like the fund to obtain public records. The request hasn't yet been acted on. But Mr. Nixon says this most recent delay, "is further evidence suggesting that there's a systemic problem in government with their approach to access information. It suggests they are intentionally frustrating environmental groups efforts to get information that might leave egg on the government's face."

7 Comments

Once again this government is hiding the facts about a serious issue.

Could it be that the coal barons fear having a little light shone on the bullshit science being used to flog the dirtiest fuel there is?

Sounds like another farmed fish fiasco if you ask me.

Don't think conspiracy think a more darker thought - incompetence.

No, it's pretty clearly a conspiracy, albiet a small and transparent one. The decision is "controversial" only at the insistence of the corporations that will benefit from the plants -- there is no controversy for anyone else, because we can see that two coal-fired plants are a giant step backwards. Surely reason and policy both demand that a less 19th century solution is needed.

Gordo and Co. want to dig and sell coal so that's what will happen unless the voters catch on and boot the bums out. FOI stuff can be held up basically when the government wants it that wau. Even if it shows up expcer more blacked out areas that the stuff that can be read,

I have found that 6 months to a year is pretty much standard now for FOI act requests. If the SLDF can get a response in 5 months then they are ahead of the game and I am jealous!

Hopefully these FOI’s will tell us who was the idiot at BC Hydro that approved these projects in the first place. Whoever it was, should be fired.

I hadn't noticed this till now. History was made here on February 2nd when Kevin Larsen implicitly criticized an economic policy decision of the BC Liberal Govt.

A public forum on the subject of IPPs was held last week in Maple Ridge sponsored by BC Citizens for Public Power. Present were MLAs Randy Hawes, BC Liberal from Maple Ridge-Mission and Mike Sather, NDP from Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, as well as John Calvert an SFU instructor with Citizens for Public Power and Steve David with the IPP Assn.

Calvert presented figures showing that the cost of producing electricity in the exisiting hydo dams, which provide 78% of BC's electricity, is $5.81 per megawatt. Contrast this to the price of $66.00 per megawatt that will be paid to the IPPs. NDP MLA Mike Sather interpreted this to mean that the prices "negotiated" are simply designed to make private power more competitive against the exiting system. Hawes' interpretation was more ideological, saying "We don't think profit's a bad word."

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