Despite their 2001 election promise to run the most open and accountable government in the country, the Liberals have done little to strengthen British Columbia's freedom of information legislation. Indeed, it could be argued the party has done much to weaken the act - restrained only by the locks and manacles of what constitutes acceptable political behaviour in this province. But it seems the Liberal MLAs and staffers aren't not the only officials who would prefer their business not be made public via freedom of information requests. Speaking to members of the select standing committee on government and finance services this morning, outgoing conflict of interest commissioner H.A.D. Oliver argued his office shouldn't be subject to such requests. Said Mr. Oliver, "I am not one who feels that transparency is a bad thing. I'm a great believer in transparency, but I think that as far as my office is concerned, all that is really required is translucency, a slightly different situation."
"Either that or face it, you'll no longer be able to talk to the Conflict-of-Interest Commissioner, be it Mr. (Paul) Fraser or whoever succeeds him, in the fullness of time with that confidentiality which you've always been able to be assured of when you've come and talked to my office."
"We pride ourselves to this day, as we always have, on running the only leak-proof operation in government," he continued. "Help us keep it leak-proof. You've seen yesterday what can happen with a hole the size of a fist in the hull of ship. A fine Canadian ship was left lost in Antarctic waters. My job has been as a pilot to assist you in the navigation of the ship of state, in the avoidance of shoal waters, in assisting those charged with the navigation to arrive safely at the port at which they wish to arrive. Please, don't let's have this fist-sized hole in our hull."