Wow, it seems like only yesterday Joy MacPhail introduced legislation that banned the release of information relating to abortion in the Province of British Columbia.
10 Years ago this week, in the dying days of the NDP regime, the Abortion Services Statutes Amendment Act, 2001 was introduced, effectively stamping out the ability to talk and debate abortion in this Province.
Darrell Evans, executive director of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA), a non-partisan lobby group whose efforts led to the passage of B.C.’s FOI law, stated:
“This draws an iron curtain across the subject of abortion….” He added: “It says, in effect, that abortion is no longer a proper subject for debate. Those who want to criticize abortion are now at a severe knowledge disadvantage.”
As has been documented here, The Information & Privacy Commissioner, David Loukidelis, wrote a letter slamming the move of the government. Paul Fraser, QC, the subsequent interim Commissioner agreed that no topic should be made off-limits.
10 years has come and gone.
As David Loukedelis stated:
“…the amendment fundamentally changes the nature of the FOI Act, by introducing a mandatory exception based soley on the subject-matter of a record. Such a subject-matter exception is a feature of outmoded, and rightly denigrated, access and privacy laws.
Former NDP MLA Jan Pullinger said it best during the Legislative debate on what the real reason was behind this legislation:
“We came into government with a commitment to the women of this province to stop the anti-abortion, anti-choice movement and to restore women’s fundamental right to choose, and we have done that.”
And so the battle continues.