VICTORIA (March 18, 2021) – Premier John Horgan has been engaged in a three-year legal battle to deny access to a simple list of files on his computer that should be publicly accessible through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) — a fight he recently lost on all fronts.
“For more than three years, John Horgan and his lawyers have tried every trick in the book to hide these files from the public,” said Opposition Critic for Citizens’ Services Bruce Banman. “Despite these documents being requested through FOI — a standard practice that gives the public the right to access government records — John Horgan and the NDP are putting up every barrier imaginable to keep these files out of the public’s hands.”
During Wednesday’s Question Period, Banman outlined how government lawyers’ attempts to block the information were overruled by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC). Despite the NDP’s claims that a few screenshots of files were too difficult to create, the OIPC agreed on the methods proposed by the Opposition to create records, and further found the government failed in its duty to provide access and was required to “perform their duty… to create the records requested.” Instead, the NDP continued to obstruct access to the records and billed the Opposition caucus for 90 hours of labour at $2,700 — more than double the estimate they provided to the OIPC.
“The adjudicator has ruled on the matter,” added Banman. “We have jumped through every hoop Horgan has put up to get British Columbians the info they have a right to see. It’s now up to the Premier to explain what he is hiding, and when he will release the files.”