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NDP push opening Olympics to FOI

A motion to encourage premier Gordon Campbell to bring VANOC and Olympic spending under British Columbia's freedom of information laws was quickly quashed today by the chair of a Liberal-dominated special committee reviewing the legislation.

The New Democratic Party's Doug Routley introduced a motion “urging the committee to write to the premier encouraging him to immediately open VANOC to FOI access.” The motion arose out of the Canadian Association of Journalists' Stanley Tromp's presentation to the committee yesterday, he said.

“For some journalists, the most challenging of all games has turned out to be trying to find information about its costs and processes,” Tromp, a longtime user and observer of the act, had told the committee. “The B.C. government refused to include VANOC, the Olympic organizing committee, under our FOI law. Yet the similar entity that manages the 2012 Olympic Games in Britain, the Olympic Delivery Authority, ODA, is covered by the British FOI law. FOI requests there have produced news stories about the ODA in England.”

The committee's Liberal chair, Ron Cantelon, declined to seek a seconder for Routley's motion saying the committee's agenda for the day was already full. “We have an agenda here and the agenda is to seek input from the public.”

The NDP's Jenny Kwan then asked if a time could be designated to discuss the motion.

Cantelon said he would accept it as a notice of motion and would consider it. Though he did allow, “My immediate reaction is it's somewhat superfluous to what we're tasked with by the legislature.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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