NEWS: NDP Government Hides Speech Notes from FOI Request
So this is weird.
B.C. Premier John Horgan went to the annual BC Federation of Labour conference Oct. 26, and gave a speech laying out his labour agenda. More than 200 union activists were there, along with a handful of media.
We wanted to see the content of that speech, so we filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to get his speaking notes. This is a pretty standard FOI request.
We got the notes back today and, bizarrely, they’ve blanked-out four sections, saying that under Section 13 they can’t be released. Section 13 of the Act exempts “policy advice or recommendations.”
But this was a public speech! How can they hide these sections? How could they be policy advice or recommendations?
The first severed section comes just before a rant about how bad the BC Liberals were (pages 30-31 of 40). The second comes in the middle of that rant about how bad the BC Liberals were (page 33 of 41). The third one comes in the middle of the sentence, “and XXXXXXX temporary foreign workers” (page 34 of 41). The fourth one comes just before Horgan talks about education (page 34 of 41).
Rest assured, we’re appealing this to the independent FOI Commissioner.
From our point of view, Horgan’s rhetoric is divisive and concerning. It seems he’s willing to tilt the playing field fully in favour of the 20% of the construction industry that is in the Building Trades Unions. It’s favoritism. A sample of his comments:
- Horgan calls himself a “trade unionist” and pledges to “always be in [the BC Fed’s] corner.”
- “The Fair Wage Commission will look at the world of work, not just wages.”
- “We’ll use Project Labour Agreements… success stories like the Vancouver Island Highway project can happen again.”