Former New Democratic MLA Jan Pullinger spilled the beans on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 28, 2001. She commented in the Legislature on why the government introduced a law that included a lifetime ban on access to information on the public policy issue of abortion.
“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.”
Sounds slightly political?
Entire legislation introduced and passed primarily to stop your political opponents? Then it all adds up. The secret meetings. The media noticing the fascination the government has with one side of a public policy issue. The full weight of the law struck to intimidate political opponents with a Criminal Harassment Unit – then embarrassed that it didn’t find the outcome you wanted. The Attorney General of the Province submitting a false affidavit.
Make no doubt about it, Bill 21-2001 was a complete and utter abuse of the legislative process. After 10 years, it is time to see this mockery of the democratic process tossed into the dust bin of history, where it belongs.
Once again we are reminded on why legislation such as this must be fought:
‘‘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
But the Government was never interested in democracy on this issue, was it?