An NDP MLA has tabled a private member’s bill that, if passed, would guarantee government would make it an offence to destroy public records.
“Have confidence that bureaucrats aren’t destroying documents that could become part of an FOI request in the future that will be part of the guiding principle.”
“I think people are tired of feeling as though they don’t have transparent views into what government is doing.”
Doug Routley says his bill would make sure the provincial government creates and keeps records of what it has done.
Routley says his bill would also remove the legal immunity for government officials who can’t come up with records; something he says Premier Christy Clark introduced.
“She did that just days before her government’s triple delete scandal came to light. We are going to re-assert penalties because right now there is essentially no penalty whatsoever for disobeying the act. That has been removed so we think there ought to be a cost.”
“Commissioners and former Commissioners have recommended upgrades to the archiving in British Columbia. That will be a part of what we are recommending that government improve its archiving. Make more standard its forms so that they are easier to save and so FOI requests don’t take so long so that documents of certain classes are never destroyed.”
He says it would give the Privacy Commissioner power to investigate the destruction of public records.
That said Routley says the chance his bill will be passed is “very slim”.