This is an Open Letter to the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA)
In 2001, Bill 21 was passed by the BC Government. It was a law that basically censored any information on the topic of abortion from being released.
At the time, a representative from your organization stated that it was like “putting an iron curtain around the topic of abortion”.
Strong words, to be sure. I’m writing to ask you what has your organization done since then to see the provisions of this bill overturned? Are we truly free when government has decided there is one topic that freedom of information laws do not apply?
I am to understand that I can know, through legislation, that my local hospital is performing abortions, but not how many? Is there any other surgical procedure in which this is done? Is there any other issue where I am not allowed to know how many, if any, women have died or suffered complications from? Can I know who is lobbying on this public policy issue? Am I allowed to peek and see if government officials are meeting secretly with political groups and discussing their political opponents?
If you check the history on this issue, you will note that the only threat that ever occurred over the release of abortion related information, was one of embarrassment. The Attorney General of BC filed a false affidavit over the issue and almost had to resign….and subsequent release of information continued to embarrass government officials – from secret meetings with political groups to babies being allowed to die after their abortion.
Since I was born and raised in BC, I can remember many more threats over environmental issues in BC than abortion. Yet would your organization tolerate government adding environmental issues to the list of “forbidden” topics – indeed any other public policy issue?
It seems to me it is high time for your organization to act. In fact, it is past time. So the question I put to you – does the Freedom of Information & Privacy Association of British Columbia really believe in freedom of information – on every topic? Does is it support the campaign for open government in every area? Or are you just selective in your quest for honest and open government? Just what freedom of information are you “advancing”?
Your continued silence these past few years is embarrassing.
I look forward to hearing how you will address my concerns.