"There's no reason no to do it. It's really just common sense." That's what the provincial Liberal House Leader Mike de Jong told The Globe and Mail's Justine Hunter when asked about making MLA constituency office and travel expenses public. But if British Columbia's elected officials really wanted to be open and accountable, they'd also make the legislature subject to freedom of information requests. Right now, the people have no means of forcibly finding out what's going on in the people's house - which this years has a budget of more than $68 million. It's been that way since the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act was introduced in 1992.
Of course, there are some who have questioned why the legislature is exempt from freedom of information requests while government ministries are not. And there are still others who have suggested changing that legislation. For example, in an April 2001 letter to the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, then opposition leader Gordon Campbell stated he would look at making such an amendment to "ensure the legislative assembly is accountable to taxpayers."
But nine years later, that has yet to happen - even though, according to Mr. Campbell, it could enhance "public confidence in the institution of parliament."