Privacy issues paramount

Officials at Saanich have elevated evading transparency to a high art

Officials at Saanich have elevated evading transparency to a high art.  Back in January, CFAX’s Ian Jessop submitted a series of questions in an FOI to Saanich regarding Spector 360. The answer to every question came back as “no records found.”

I just happened to be talking to one of the clerks at Saanich the day following Ian’s broadcast, and I mentioned that he had been on the air complaining about the lack of information. Suddenly, Ian started getting answers, as did several other people, including me. However, the information was highly redacted, often with outrageous charges attached.

A request for two councillors emails for the last 18 months recently came back with “no records found.” Another councillor’s emails were available, but at a cost of hundreds of dollars.  Retrieval of electronic records should have no charges attached, according the OIPC BC.

The privacy commissioner complained that Saanich officials demonstrated a near total ignorance of privacy legislation. After all the fuss for all these months, they still haven’t learned a thing. As taxpayers, we are paying six-figure salaries to managers whose job it is to understand and implement privacy laws and they still aren’t doing it. Now they are looking to hire another manager, with another six-figure salary, to look after privacy issues.

All the while, we have a group of incumbent councillors who are content to pass this “corporate decision” off as a “simple mistake.” When are the citizens of Saanich going to wake up and smell the coffee?

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — G.B. Shaw

Bob Etheridge

Saanich