"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bone of contention

From Dave Bartlett's post-mortem of the sorry fall session of the Bow-Wow Parliament, in Thursday's Telegram:

[NDP leader Lorraine] Michael did have concerns over two other bills.

One governs the province's research and development council and the other broadens the definition of what a cabinet document is.

Cabinet documents are protected from access to information requests.

[Liberal leader Yvonne] Jones said that bill was also contentious for the Liberals.

She said documents her party gets from government are often heavily edited or come with a price tag.

"Right now we have $6,000 in requests," said Jones.

Where? When?

Certainly not when Bill 63, bearing the, in these circumstances, Orwell-cum-Kafka-esque title of An Act To Amend The Management Of Information Act was called for debate in the House of Assembly:

CLERK: An Act To Amend The Management Of Information Act.

CHAIR: Shall the title carry?

All those in favour, 'aye'.


CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

On motion, title carried.

CHAIR: Shall I report the bill carried without amendment?

All those in favour, 'aye'.


CHAIR: All those against, 'nay'.

The motion is carried.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.
Passed without amendments. Fair enough — they'd have been voted down by The Party anyway.

But also passed without amendments even having been proposed.

Passed with five voice votes during Committee of the Whole considering Bill 63, and not one voice responding to the Chair's, "All those against, 'nay'."

Just as none responded to that call in the Second Reading vote.

Or in the Third Reading vote.

Contentious? Very.

In the one or two hallways — or, more likely, broom closets — of academe that still care.

In a very narrow circle of archivists, and possibly archival users.

In one or two newsrooms, but no more than two.

And in retrospect, to future generations of historians — and others who may have a particular interest in the paperwork of the Williams regime — extremely contentious.

But in the political sphere?

In the legislature?

On three separate days, according to three issues of Hansard, the presiding officer called "All those against, 'nay'," and not once, not once, was a dissenting voice raised for the record.

Not once.

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