Taxpayers: Opening legislature staff up to FOI and protecting whistleblowers is the right thing to do
VANCOUVER, BC: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is pleased that the British Columbia government is moving forward with CTF recommendations to strengthen accountability and transparency at the legislature by expanding freedom of information laws and protections for whistleblowers.
The CTF had been calling for such changes in the wake of the Speaker’s Report alleging misspending at the legislature.
“We are pleased to see the B.C. government is starting to act on our recommendations and we’re calling on all MLAs to support the push to make the legislature subject to freedom of information laws and provide real protections for whistleblowers,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director for the CTF. “We’ve looked through hundreds of receipts that raise serious questions about spending at the legislature and taxpayers should always have the right to look at these expenses because we’re paying the bills.”
Minister Mike Farnworth said he supports introducing legislation to protect whistleblowers who alert others to wrongdoing, and opening legislature staff positions – such as the clerk, the speaker and the sergeant-at-arms – to FOI searches. However, the changes need support at the Legislative Assembly Management Committee.
“Taxpayers expect all politicians on that committee to support opening up the legislature to expanded freedom of information searches and to give more protection to those who report misspending and wrongdoing,” said Sims. “While it’s good to hear these changes being supported, we need to see them put into action along with further recommendations to proactively publish all expenses online and to appoint an outside auditor that can get to the bottom of the spending mess at the legislature.”
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Kris Sims, BC Director
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