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BC gov't releases tech contract after eight-year legal battle

VANCOUVER - The British Columbia government has released an eight-year-old technology contract after a lengthy battle to keep it hidden cost taxpayers more than $200,000.

The B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association filed a freedom-of-information request for the contract, signed in December 2004 between the province and IBM.

But the government withheld some parts of the contract and then argued in front of the province's information and privacy commissioner and then in court that releasing the document would pose a security risk.

The province lost at every step along the way, including in a B.C. Supreme Court judgment last month, and it has now released the 535-page, $300-million contract.

Vincent Gogolek of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association says it should not have taken nearly eight years to obtain a contract that he argues the government should have released on its own.

Premier Christy Clark has promised to usher in a new era of transparency and openness, but her government continued attempting to block the contract's release after she entered office.

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