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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.

Click HERE for the speaking notes.

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.”

LETTER: ICBA Calls on Trudeau Government to Reverse LNG-Damaging Tariff

Last week, ICBA sent a letter to federal finance minister Bill Morneau, asking him to reverse a Canadian International Trade Tribunal decision that would make it prohibitively expensive to import huge, complex modules needed for LNG plants. No Canadian facility could manufacture these, but the tribunal failed to exempt them in a pushback against steel imported from China, South Korea and Spain.

As our letter states:

Effectively, the recent CITT determination has a significant adverse impact on the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry’s ability to source and import “large complex modules” required to build globally competitive LNG facilities in British Columbia. These components are extremely large, with some weighing in excess of 7,000 metric tonnes, and require specialized transportation vessels. Internationally, there are only a few fabrication yards capable of building these complex modules in line with the requirements and project timelines for LNG projects in British Columbia. These components must be moved by specialized marine heavy-lift ships given their enormous size, and cannot – and will not – be produced in Canada. There is simply no domestic supplier network in Canada that warrants protection.

The full letter can be found HERE.