He can’t handle the truth

Laila Yuile uncovered an indication that Stephen Harper has new plans for Gordon Campbell. It involves a telephone pollster with Conservative ties asking a call recipient if Gordon Campbell is trustworthy.

In politics, fact matters less than perception. The former Premier’s trustworthiness could be determined from the record but the PMO cares not about that, they care about how BC residents regard Campbell. Instead of being guided by principle, Conservatives prefer government by polls, focus groups and preferences of their petulant prince.

Nevertheless, to assist pollsters in the determination of whether Gordon Campbell is trustworthy enough to be a Senator. I re-offer ‘He can’t handle the truth’ from May 2009. It was one of the first articles published at Northern Insight. (Under Harper, trustworthy Conservative Senator seems oxymoronic.)

Before he was elected Premier, Gordon Campbell wrote,

“When government does its business behind closed doors, people will invariably believe that government has something to hide. Secrecy feeds distrust and dishonesty. Openness builds trust and integrity.”

Another time, Campbell said,

“Information rights are meaningless if disclosure timetables cannot be met because there aren’t enough staff to do the job.”

In his 2001 victory speech, newly elected Premier Campbell stated,

“We will bring in the most open and accountable government in Canada. I know some people say we’ll soon forget about that, but I promise that we won’t!”

Since then, Gordon Campbell’s Liberal Government has:

  • Passed amendments to make the FOI process more difficult and time consuming.
  • Been rated second-worst province in Canada for responding to freedom of information requests, according to an audit by the Canadian Newspaper Association.
  • Slashed the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s budget and refused to fund staff needed to meet FOI disclosure timetables
  • Extended cabinet secrecy to several Liberal caucus committees, without consulting the Information Commissioner.
  • Removed B.C. Ferries from the scope of the act and refused to include VANOC, the Olympic organizing committee.
  • Tried to pass a bill to allow final reports of public inquiries to be kept secret.
  • Introduced a B.C. Community Charter to allow municipal councils to place many more subjects into closed meetings. There are no rules setting out what B.C. school boards, colleges, universities and some other public bodies can place in-camera.
  • Initiated a review of the FOI act by bureaucrats in 2005 instead of adopting the many pro-FOI recommendations of the 2004 special legislative committee. This review of government openness was itself secret. To avoid public disclosure, no written report was delivered to government by the consultant who reported on the secrecy process.
  • Failed to respond to urgent calls to clarify the abused section of the FOIPP act relating to policy advice so that only true advice and recommendations can be withheld, not background documents
  • Attempted to pass a bill in 2006 that would have exempted designated contracts and projects with private sector partners from FOI requirements.
  • Routinely made excessive fee estimates for access to records in order to dissuade requesters.
  • Routinely engaged in political interference with FOI requests. In February 2009, Commissioner Loukidelis called on government to cease using sensitivity ratings, whether these are applied to types of requesters––for example, media, political parties and interest groups—or to complex or otherwise difficult requests.
  • Been asked by Commissioner Loukidelis to begin meeting the statutory obligation to report annually to the Legislative Assembly on administration of the FOI law. This accountability duty has been fulfilled only once.


On April 29, 2009, the Campaign for Open Government published the following:

Two identical FOI requests filed on the same day with the offices of Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and BC Premier Gordon Campbell got very different results.

The Freedom of Information and Privacy Association filed the requests for information about intergovernmental meetings related to the new RFID equipped drivers’ licences now being phased in across the province. The licences are designed to meet the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) which will require a passport or other authorized ID to enter the United States starting June 1, 2009.

Governor Gregoire’s office responded in full in less than a month. Copying costs were US $5.30.

The Office of the Premier didn’t provide their initial response until after the Washington Governor’s office had sent all the requested documents. They still haven’t provided any documents, but did send a bill for C $620.

18 replies »

  1. Well if you are calling the BC Liberals Liars I agree totally. They say the South Fraser Freeway will reduce congestion and get trucks out of neighborhoods. They have knocked down a lot of my neighborhood to build this Freeway, that will still run half a block from our neighborhood school. Oh and currently there is no congestion in our neighborhood. So I say they are liars. I hope that is not too uncivil.


  2. Gordon Campbell's words coincide with truth the way a stopped clock reports correct time. It happens occasionally, simply by accident.


  3. “This review of government openness was itself secret. To avoid public disclosure, no written report was delivered to government by the consultant who reported on the secrecy process.”

    I gather the same dedication remains with today's paperless government.


  4. Polling of certain names to see which name will bring the numbers up.

    Campbell’s name is used to see how much drop there is compared to an unknown. The name is being used to compare numbers for clark.

    At this point neither of those names will have good numbers.


  5. Norm, I got quite nauseous watching the the recent Canada /Russia Junior Hockey final when the camera panned over to Stephen Harper. Sitting beside him was non other than that nefarious Gordon Campbell. Without a doubt, neither of these con artists paid for their tickets to the game. Campbell would have received free flights to and from London.


  6. Thank you for adding the Print Friendly button to each article. Sharing your work with people who don't use the internet is now much easier.


  7. if they put el gordo's name with 100 convicted felons, I would consider the 100 convicted felons more trustworthy than el gordo.

    yes, let stevie anoint el gordo to the senate, he did so well with the other 3 and given el gordo's track record, you can bet he will out do those 3.

    el gordo spent enough time at the public trough. let the bastard get a real job, like the rest of us.


  8. And this is all around openess and accountability. Now consider all the nefarious, deceitful, illegal and dishonest shit that occurred under Campbell and continues under Clark the Liberal's as a result of their hamstringing of the FOIPPA and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

    Guide to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

    As the name suggests, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) has two main purposes
    1. Freedom of Information
    To make public bodies more open and accountable by providing the public with a legislated right of access to government records, and

    2. Protection of Privacy
    To protect your right to personal privacy by prohibiting the unauthorized collection, use or disclosure of your personal information by public bodies.

    Complete and unmitigated bullshit!


  9. When it was reported that harper was going to appoint campbell to his High Commish job, I know he was bombareded with pleas from BC'rs urging him not to.
    harper was deaf to those concerns just as he will to the present circumstance.
    Certainly there must be 'something' campbell has on harper for harper to continue to elevate this least worthy to high profile positions against the public will.


  10. Hi Norm, just a heads up. I am a school district employee and I have been reading your blog and others for years, but just last week, it seems all blogs have been blocked on school district computers. I have no problem accessing you, Grant G, Ross K etc from home, but no longer can from school. I have tried different computers with no success. Censorship in my opinion. Keep up the good fight!


  11. 'Interesting about the blocking on school computers. Province-wide, schools get their internet feed through PLNet, which filters “adult content” and other sites which kids don't “need” access to. When you type in something like “” a red screen pops up and tells you that you are trying to access a blocked site.

    Some schools, such as the one I just retired from, have an extra layer of internet access through Telus or Shaw for non-student use.

    If it's true that PLNet is filtering political blog sites, I'd be curious to know who gave that order.

    BTW, sending this via Firefox on my Mac, as Safari just zaps my posts into oblivion.


  12. I made a request to the school district involved for a statement of policy. It appears that addresses that contain “” have suddenly been blocked. I've only had a report from one school district but will be checking others.


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