Former provincial New Democrat attorney general Colin Gabelmann said yesterday he regrets exempting British Columbia Railway Co. from freedom of information requests. At the time of that exemption, Mr. Gabelmann said it was necessary to protect the company from competitors. But, speaking on Public Eye Radio, Mr. Gabelmann said he was personally opposed to it. "We had long and I mean long - months and months and months of debate about it. I insisted from the beginning that BC Rail should be included. And others in cabinet - who had different views - argued against it."
"We went around and around and around and around. But, in the finally analysis, because BC Rail was operating as a commercial entity in competition with private railways and other transportation organizations which weren't in the public realm and not subject to freedom of information I finally conceded to exempt BC Rail."
"Frankly, I didn't like it then," he continued. "I had no idea of the potential outcome in the years to come. But I thought it was wrong. I thought all Crown corporations - which BC Rail was - should be covered. It was exempted. I take responsibility for it because it was my legislation. But I can tell you there was a long, long debate about that question. And someday, if I ever write my memoirs and certain people have passed on, I may say more."