B.C. Ferries abuses FOI laws in order to hide embarrassing email with B.C. Liberal minister

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bc_ferry_smallVICTORIA – A newly released email shows B.C. Ferries tried to hide an embarrassing exchange between their CEO and the B.C. Liberal transportation minister.

In an email sent from B.C. Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan to Transportation Minister Todd Stone in February, Corrigan says the minister’s recent comments on a ferries policy were “not helpful or productive,” and that the minister should “take this into consideration when commenting” in the future. Following that exchange, the minister has never repeated his comments.

New Democrat Freedom of Information spokesperson Doug Routley said what’s really concerning is that B.C. Ferries appears to have skirted laws in order to hide the email.

New Democrats filed a freedom of information request for any emails between Corrigan and Stone between Jan. 1 and March 31. When a “no records” response came back from B.C. Ferries, Corrigan told media at the time that it was because his conversations with the minister “only happen on the phone or face-to-face.”

“This newly released email from that same time period shows that Mr. Corrigan’s comments weren’t exactly true, and that B.C. Ferries skirted British Columbia’s freedom of information laws,” said Routley. “The B.C. Liberals are already tied up in a controversy around deleted emails and skirting information laws. Now it seems publicly owned agencies are doing the same.”

Routley wrote to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, asking them to take into consideration this latest incident as part of their current investigation of the allegations made by a former B.C. Liberal government employee about an incident involving the deliberate destruction of government records.

“When a publicly owned entity like B.C. Ferries skirts laws and hides documents, there’s no way for the public to know what’s really happening and why B.C. Ferries is still off-course in terms of skyrocketing fares and service cuts,” said Routley.

You can see Routley’s letter to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner here: http://bit.ly/1MnDJoG