New Democrats introduce measures to protect important public records

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delete-keyVICTORIA— In the face of the Christy Clark government’s refusal to create and retain key government records, New Democrats proposed measures on Thursday that would legislate a ‘duty to document’ and strengthen protections and penalties for failing to follow the law.

“British Columbians deserve to understand and have access to the decisions of their government,” said Doug Routley, New Democrat spokesperson for citizen services. “But under Premier Christy Clark’s leadership, records aren’t even being created in many cases, while important records are being willfully destroyed and triple-deleted to protect her political interests.”

Routley introduced the Government Records Accountability Act in the legislature on Thursday. If adopted, the bill would bring in a duty to document – a measure that guarantees government make and keep records of what it has done and that those records can be accessed by the public. It also makes it an offence to destroy government records and gives the privacy commissioner power to investigate the destruction of records. Lastly, the legislation removes the legal immunity from government officials for failing to provide records.

“Christy Clark passed legislation that eliminated penalties for illegally deleting government records just days before her government’s practice of triple-deleting emails was exposed,” said Routley. “We should be increasing the penalties, not eliminating them.”

Routley said that the triple-delete scandal is just one example in a long list that shows how the Christy Clark government has abandoned democratic principles of openness and responsibility.

This legislation is in addition to a suite of bills introduced last spring by Gary Holman, New Democrat spokesperson for democratic reform.

Here is a link to the Government Records Accountability Act: