Wednesday, March 06, 2013

This Day In Snookland...An Explanation For 'Oral Government' Emerges.


And, in my opinion, that reason really, really, really stinks.

Below is a written (i.e. not oral) statement from the Deputy Minister for Citizen Services and Open Government, Ms. Kim Henderson, responding to Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham's concerns about the fact that no one in the Premier's office ever writes anything down or ever uses their official government Email accounts for anything official:

"...I recognize that you were unable to find a single explanation for this trend of increasing “no responsive records” which is consistent with our own analysis. We too believe that the processing of multiple requests to ministries is a significant factor. For the increasing number of no records responses to the Office of the Premier, I would point out the Office of the Premier has had a dramatic increase in the number of requests overall and, has had an almost 200 per cent increase in the number of requests resulting in responsive records since 2009/10..."

You can find Ms. Henderson's entire letter to the Information Commissioner (which is copied to Ms. Lynda Tarras who produced no written records herself when she carried out the Boessenkool investigation)



I don't know about you, but I cannot believe this codswallop.

The offered explanation, from a BC Liberal Party Government Deputy Minister to the freaking Information Commissioner, is that nothing is written down because it would be just too much work if, as a result, somebody might actually ask to see it.

Which is complete and utter shite.

Not to mention completely and utterly ridiculous given what WE NOW KNOW was being passed around by these people, secretly, using non-governmental Email communication (which means it WAS written down and being hidden from FOI requests).


Let's just consider the logic here for a moment shall we?

If someone submits an FOI request and they get nothing....

Well, if that person is tenacious, and really wants to find out what is going on, are they not then going to submit more FOI requests trying to find the information they are looking for?

And, if that wasthe case wouldn't FOI requests go up as a result?

In other words, could not a reasonable and logical case be made that one of the reasons that FOI requests to the Premier's Office have increased significantly since the advent of Snooklandia (i.e. post 2010) is precisely because...

...No one is writing anything down.


These people really must go now.

All of them.

I mean, the fact that the letter excerpted above was cc'd to  Ms. Lynda Tarras with an explanation that is so blatantly obfuscatory really and totally is the last straw.




motorcycleguy said...

On one request I get responses saying "no records were found" and on the next (similar) request I get extension after extension granted because "too many records were found and more time is required to provide a complete report". Not to mention I shouldn't have to make any requests at all....a simple phone call and some faxes from the EAO would suffice......if indeed there was nothing to hide. The number of FOI's is directly proportional to the number of less than ethical activities going on behind closed doors. The rooms behind those doors belong to everyone, not a chosen few.

Anonymous said...

Henderson's dateless response to Denham is the same one CC was using in question period yesterday.

scotty on Denman said...

You can just hear the puerile, Kafka-esque sniggering
goin' on as BC Liberal hacks devise and execute this plan.

kootcoot said...

I'm somewhat surprised they haven't claimed that they don't want to write stuff down in order to protect the environment and save trees!

Anonymous said...

The very nature of an investigation screams out that a paper trail be established. If not, then we are left with the need to investigate the investigation. It took the Information Commissioner to step in and make recommendations that the government is only now willing to act on. But there is multiple examples over the last few years (Eg. Bossenkool) that resulted in controversy and the obvious need for such changes, but they were not made. Obviously, if their is no political will and outside pressure, there is no action. Then you have to ask, what the advantage and motivations were33 for not making the changes. And the answer is not pretty.

RossK said...


It's weird.

Because there is a second much shorter letter that follows which is dated Mar 4/2013.

Really weird.


Anonymous said...

You are quite right, a tenacious non-believer will continue to make additional requests in search of an answer. However, at that point section 43 of FIPPA may well be invoked as it apparently was with Bob Makin recently. Then of course the individual would have recourse to the commissioner, currently Elizabeth Denham. Will she be up to the task?

Ms. Denham is relatively new to the job of Commissioner. However, her predecessor, Mr. Loukidelis is more well known. The Liberal government found him most condyne. He easily obtained a second term as Commissioner (unlike Mr. Doyle). Then he became DM to the Attorney General. In that position he provided the $6 million dollar solution to Basi/Virk. That solution must have been a great relief to any government members who were not looking forward to being examined under oath regarding BC Rail.

Mr. Loukidelis had a decade to fashion the operations of the OIPC. His legacy is still there. Ms. Denham is relatively new. Can we expect the OIPC to be a proactive defender of the rights of citizens to information. I'm not overly optimistic. I would love to have my concerns shown to be entirely without foundation. But....

paisley said...

Every time a taxpayer salaried employee doesn’t record their actions while working the public is being cheated. Every time a government employee uses a personal email account or a website is accessed from a public building the public is being cheated. We the public paid for their time, the computer, the phone, the internet connection. It would be valuable to see the list of web addresses generated from the incoming/outgoing servers used by government employees while they are supposedly do the business of government. That would be the real eye opener.

The Mound of Sound said...

Governments that don't keep proper records are governments making decisions for which they don't want to be held accountable to the public.

Victoria is bad, Ottawa even worse.

Just counting the days now. Bye, bye Crispy.