Here in BC, we’ve been treated to an exposé of the poverty industry….you know, the one that you don’t dare question? Those who receive our tax dollars…with little or no accountability…and a lot of limo rides, European trips and even a family junket to Disneyland! Imagine if such information was censored because of the Information and Privacy Act?
Meanwhile, Vancouver’s non-profit abortion clinics, also flush with taxpayer dollars, whined and complained because the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons expected them to cover the cost of their accreditation.
In dizzying speed, and we do mean dizzying speed, BC Health Minister Terry Lake announced that the taxpayer would cover those extra costs.
BC’s abortion clinics are not required to report complication statistics, or any data for that matter to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Information on complication rates for BC are banned under our Freedom of Information Act….in fact, so is the release of any abortion related information other than province wide abortion statistics.
In the same speed, you think that the BC Health Minister might require abortion clinics to report all their data to the CIHI? At least in the interest of health?
Or the government might reverse the law that bans the release of abortion-related information?
We won’t hold our breath. But it does show that if they wanted to, they could make changes really fast.
If they wanted to.
Today is election day in British Columbia. This leaked policy document, produced by those who will probably be in power in the next few days, asks many questions.
For example, do they really mean to “Remove barriers to FOI”?
Or, should it read, “Remove SOME barriers to FOI”?
Because, remember, it was the NDP government who decided that certain topics and subjects were OFF LIMITS.
Imagine them doing that to any OTHER subject?
Imagine government having the power to make entire public policy topics disappear?
Then, and only then, can you really “Imagine our Future”!
UPDATE: The NDP did not sweep into power, despite the polls and pundits. Will it be more of the same now…or will there be courage…enough to allow all citizens in a democracy access to all topics?
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has compiled an amazing report, entitled “Black Holes: Canada’s Missing Abortion Data“.
The report examines the state of abortion data collection and reporting in Canada.
There is a Press Release announcing the report.
EFC Legal Counsel Faye Sonier was interviewed by 100 Huntley Street on Canadian laws which restrict access to abortion data. You can see those interviews here.
Look for some exciting developments in 2013 that will address the issue of abortion data suppression.
Note to those who are uncomfortable with our campaign:
It is unacceptable in our democratic society that there should be a restraint on the publication of information relating to government when the only vice of that information is that it enables the public to discuss, review and criticize government action.
–Commonwealth v John Fairfax & Sons Ltd & Ors (1980)
We get a mention and there is a good update on the state of abortion reporting in Canada: Making a mess of abortion statistics by Andrea Mrozek, Manager of Research and Communications, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada
‘‘the overarching purpose of access to information legislation is to facilitate democracy. It helps to ensure first, that citizens have the information required to participate meaningfully in the democratic process, and secondly, that politicians and bureaucrats remain accountable to the citizenry.’’
-Dagg v Canada (Minister of Finance) 1997