VICTORIA, B.C. - Today, Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands introduced several pieces of legislation, including repealing the $10 fee for freedom-of-information (FOI) requests, protecting bear dens, and banning prolonged solitary confinement in corrections facilities.
“These pieces of legislation are aimed at making British Columbia a more transparent and safer place to be for all British Columbians and our environment,” said MLA Olsen, Green House Leader. “Introducing these bills today means prioritizing the conversation around good ideas coming from all sides of the house.
“British Columbia continues to be an outlier in Canada in how Private Members' bills are handled. There is basically no pathway for Opposition Members and Government backbenchers to propose public policy and have it debated and voted on,” MLA Olsen continued. “The public expects their representative to be able to propose public policy and have it considered.
“The B.C. Green Caucus appreciated the initial step Premier David Eby took, in his former role as Attorney General, to improve the quality of private members amendments and bills by providing access to the legislative drafters. There are a variety of successful approaches across the country and in the spirit of our democratic institution I sincerely hope Premier Eby and Government House Leader Hon. Ravi Kahlon takes the next logical step to reform the process for consideration of Private Members’ bills, debate and vote.”
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Privacy Act:
Proposed changes will get rid of the BC NDP $10 fee for FOI requests. This fee was heavily criticized for obscuring transparency, tampering effective journalism, and restricting Indigenous people from accessing information about their own communities.
Preliminary findings show that media requests for information decreased with the introduction of the $10 fee. In a time of growing fear and misinformation – when people are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories and less likely to trust their government – the truth needs to be readily accessible and available.
The Wildlife Amendment Act:
This re-introduced bill proposes protections for bear dens often destroyed by logging activity. For more background on this bill, see the previous release from fall 2022.
The Corrections Statutes Amendment Act:
This re-introduced bill proposes to ban the use of solitary confinement in provincial corrections facilities. For more background on this bill, see the previous release from spring 2022.