Request for phone records isn't in the public interest

Deputy attorney general Allan Seckel has decided a freedom of information request to determine if Premier Gordon Campbell or members of his office placed any calls to 2001 and 2005 provincial Liberal campaign co-chair Patrick Kinsella isn't in the public interest. This, despite the fact that questions about Mr. Kinsella's interactions with the Campbell administration have repeatedly been raised on the campaign trail and in the legislature.

Public Eye filed a request for the office's telephone records on December 15, 2008 - which, according to the government, would cost $450 to locate and retrieve. Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, a fee waiver can be request if the release of those records is in the public interest.

In a letter dated April 14, 2009, the government advised, "The Office of the Premier has considered your request (for a waiver) and determined that it is not appropriate to grant a fee waiver in this instance."

But that decision was actually delegated by Mr. Campbell to Mr. Seckel. Government hasn't responded to repeated inquiries into why the deputy attorney general determined the request wasn't in the public interest or the reason for that delegation.

A June 6, 2008 request filed by The Tyee's Andrew Macleod turned up no documentation of any contacts between Mr. Campbell, members of his office and Mr. Kinsella since June 2001. In his request, Mr. MacLeod specifically asked for access to calendar entries, emails and...phone records.

Mr. Kinsella has been in the headlines since it was revealed British Columbia Railway Co. paid his companies $297,567 between 2002 and 2005 to assist the company "in understanding and interpreting the Core Review Process."

1 Comment

One can only wonder, if Public Eye were, ultimately, receive a response from the government and/or the good Mr. Seckel if it would state something to the effect that:

"The request is not in the public's interest because the public, unlike solicitors and bankers, has no privilege"

Or some such thing.

All snark aside, given the public's interest, this is truly outrageous.

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