An eye for the law?

Last week, the provincial Liberals proved themselves to have a poor understanding of British Columbia's laws. But no matter - because the Liberals also proved themselves willing to change those laws so their understanding of them becomes British Columbia's legal reality. For example, on Thursday Finance Minister Colin Hansen alleged Bill Vander Zalm's petition campaign against the harmonized sales tax had misled voters. He then went on to suggest that could invalidate the signatures collected by the former premier. But a reading of the Recall and Initiative Act reveals no such penalty exists.

Then, on Friday, Attorney General Mike de Jong said the children and youth representative's sweeping legal right to access government information doesn't apply to cabinet documents. The reason: according to him, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act prohibits the province from releasing such documents. But a reading of that act reveals that prohibition only applies to the government's response to freedom of information requests - not the representative's powers.

Of course, it's possible this isn't just incompetence. It's possible something less innocent is going on. Which could explain why the Liberals introduced an amendment stating the representative doesn't have that authority, making sure their opinion prevails.

But perhaps I shouldn't complain. After all, having voted the party into government, we've given them the power to do exactly that.

3 Comments

Tee hee, of course Colin Hansen would ask for a remedy that is outside of the legislated options. He's a member of the Liberal government, which can't understand why anyone would actually follow the rules. Hey Colin --tell your buddies your days are numbered because the day is approaching when we can turf some of you out of office --and I'm not talking about the next election.

But I suspect you know that.

Sean, you are only partially correct. The government does have the right to enact legislation based on the fact that they won the last election. The question is do they have the right to make it retroactive to 2007?

This would lead any competent thinking person to suspect that they have something to hide. Either Ms. Turpel-Lafonde has already obtained some information that the BC Liberals do not want exposed or she has requested some information previous to the enactment of this law that they do not wish to divulge.

Either way the fact that they have made it retroactive does not reflect well on the BC Liberal party.

Sean, we're going to probably see both of these issues "before the courts" and you & I & every other BC political buff knows the slience after that's gonna be deafening. I do support both actions by the BCLib Gov't, in part because cabinet confidentiality shouldn't be breeched "just because" and people need to understand the HST is a) good for them and b) a contract for five years that's needed to retire the crumbling of the "optimist budget" that the opposition has no plan to retire. Enuf said.

Leave a comment

Copyright © 2004 - Public Eye Mediaworks. Reproductions of any portion of this Website are permitted only with the expressed permission of Public Eye Mediaworks.
Canadian Web Hosting graciously provided by dotcanuck Web Services. Layout and graphics courtesy of Art Department Design.