When I was in B.C. I attended a “right to know week” talk at the library. A woman who represented the library introduced someone from the Privacy Commissioner’s Office, someone from the police department and another person. These three people then gave their talk. Basically, the Privacy Commissioner’s Office and the police department talked about how wonderful they were. It was all one-sided; there was no one on the dais to disagree with anything they said.
But the audience had an opportunity for questions and comments. Most were directed at the Privacy Commissioner’s office. The first at the microphone was a gentleman. Just after he started talking he was interrupted by the woman from the library, who yelled at him comments like “who cares what you think”, “who cares what you have to say” and so on. He had the microphone and she had no right to speak. When she was finally finished, the gentleman continued with his comments/questions as if she hadn’t spoken. I admired his patience and fortitude. I sat in the audience, astounded by this woman from the library, and said nothing. I should have spoke up but I didn’t. I would now.
A couple rows behind the microphone sat three women in the last three seats of the row. They ridiculed the people who were speaking at the microphone. I didn’t get the impression that these women just walked off the street and thought it would be fun to listen to the speeches and then heckle the people in the audience who spoke. It looked planned. I, and I’m sure others, gave them dirty looks. Finally, they left. But again, I should have spoke up but I didn’t. I would now.
It seems that you have the right to know, as long as it is what the government and their toadies want you to know (otherwise known as propaganda).
Lack of Independence
Mary Carlson was Executive Director of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C. She then became Deputy Registrar of the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists for British Columbia. The privacy commissioner’s office is suppose to operate independent of the politicians, both provincially and federally. But, I don’t believe you can operate independently if your next job depends on being “liked” by the politicians. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
David Loukidelis was the B.C. information commissioner before he accepted the post of deputy attorney-general. As Vaughn Palmer pointed out, by bringing him in-house they silenced a critic (in some areas), at a convenient time and turned the critic into a lap-dog. (Sabotage? Or merely incompetence?, Vaughn Palmer, 25 Jan 2010, View from the Edge).