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

Friday, May 14, 2010

Société distincte

In Question Period on Thursday, Environment Minister and Designated Human Shield Charlene Johnson described how Quebec law provides greater access to information in the public interest than Dannystan law does:
MS JONES: Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Environment allowed us to review environmental assessment documents in her office related to AbitibiBowater sites in the Province. We were advised that we could take notes but not make photocopies. Meanwhile, the courts in Quebec released these documents publicly for people in the country to view. Certainly a contrast, I say, to openness and accountability when the minister and her government refuses to issue the information in the Province but we can pick them up on the Internet, Mr. Speaker, once they have been posted by the Quebec courts.

I ask the minister: Why were these environmental reports that were in your possession since last fall outlining significant environmental concerns not released? Why were they kept hidden in your department?

MS JOHNSON: Obviously, the way Quebec operates in their laws and the way we operate are different, Mr. Speaker. Here we have ATIPP laws that we have to abide by, so we have to redact people’s names.

I told the Leader of the Opposition - in fact, I went over and offered to her one day sitting in the House that they could come over. I, in fact, said you can photocopy items but you cannot photocopy items with names on it, and that is why I had somebody from the ATIPP office in the office with them at the time. That is the offer that I made to you at that time.

MS JONES: We were instructed not to photocopy anything; I want to clarify for the minister. The other piece of this, Mr. Speaker, is that the documents that they did finally give us was blacked out as opposed to the ones we obtained through the Web site and posted by the court in Quebec which contained all the contents and all the information.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister to tell us why she had those environmental documents in her possession since last fall but yet did not release them to the public? That is the question I would like to have answered, minister.

MS JOHNSON: Mr. Speaker, again, we have laws in this Province and we abide by those laws. Quebec may have something different, and obviously we have seen over the past that they act very differently than we do here in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker.

When we had these reports done, Mr. Speaker, if there was anything that was identified as an immediate human health and safety issue we acted immediately. Look at the case in Buchans, Mr. Speaker. We went out there, we talked to the people, and we put the information on the Web site. All of these other reports are what you would normally see in any industrial site. There was no issue of a concern for the residents in those communities. Mr. Speaker, if there had been, we would have done the exact same thing we did in Buchans.
Ms Johnson went on to outline more fully why it is that The People need to be protected from information:
MS JOHNSON: Mr. Speaker, that is the difficulties with letting people see these reports when they do not have the technical expertise to be able to interpret the results. If you look at the groundwater there, the gradient is away from the river, so it is not getting into people’s wells. Mr. Speaker, all of the limits, all of the discharge -


MS JOHNSON: - are in line with our provincial discharge limits. There were also environmental effects monitoring done in those areas and no issues were raised.

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At 12:54 AM, May 14, 2010 , Blogger Mark said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:54 AM, May 14, 2010 , Blogger Mark said...

Who knew there was more than one Rhodes Scholar in the group? Well I'll be damned.


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