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Premier dumps cabinet committees on open government, families first

When British Columbia Premier Christy Clark announced new cabinet committees this week, she dropped four that had existed before the election, signalling the government's shifting priorities.

Gone are committees on Families First, Jobs and Skills Training, and Open Government and Engagement, as well as a working group on Family Affordability.

They've been replaced with committees on a Secure Tomorrow and on a Strong Economy, and working groups on Liquefied Natural Gas and on the Core Review.

"Those that were first are no longer even there," said Vincent Gogolek, the executive director of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association advocacy group. "The Families First premier? We haven't heard much about that recently. We've heard even less about the Open Government premier."

The government has had a declining performance on freedom of information responses, about half of requests to the premier's office return no records and it's become clear there's a policy of not writing things down whenever possible, said Gogolek.

Dumping the cabinet committee on Open Government may be a sign the government's no longer going to pretend it values transparency, he said. "It sends a big signal. It's not a priority for them," he said. "The government is a big ship and you kind of give it direction. The priority on the face of things has shifted."

Four cabinet committees from before the election continue their existence: Treasury Board, Priorities and Planning, Legislative Review, and Environment and Land Use.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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