I would like to clarify a few points in Simon Nattrass’ column for Monday Magazine.
First, I acted independently in filing the Freedom of Information request with Esquimalt. I filed the request because I believe in transparency and accountability. To imply that the request was submitted to benefit my employer is simply wrong. Secrecy hinders good governance and this is why all citizens have the right to request information using FOI legislation.
Second, I don’t support the retention of non-hit data from Automatic License Plate Recognition surveillance cameras in British Columbia. My personal view is that storing random data is not a useful investigative technique for law enforcement. It is also a civil liberties issue and so I look forward to seeing the results of the ALPR investigation by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
I do enjoy reading Monday Magazine and so I was surprised by this column. Many people in Victoria know that I am a passionate advocate for criminal justice reform while off-duty. I wish Simon had contacted me before writing this piece, but he didn’t.
This week I’m guest blogging on Radley Balko’s blog, The Agitator.
Come on over and say hello!
A big thank you to Katie DeRosa and Rob Shaw for their excellent article in the Times-Colonist. CFAX, CTV, Victoria News and Victoria Vision also covered this issue, and I am grateful for their efforts as well.
I’ve filed a “Request for Review” against Esquimalt with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
This is in regard to an access request I submitted to the Township of Esquimalt on July 6th. I asked for a copy of the RCMP proposal received by Esquimalt in response to its RFP for policing services.
Esquimalt denied the request.
In a nutshell, their position is that they “cannot release the requested report in its entirety, or reasonably sever exempted information to disclose any part of it” as the proposal is exempt from disclosure under sections 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 21 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
These sections of FIPPA deal with serious matters including Cabinet confidence, government relations, the investigative techniques used by law enforcement, the financial and economic interests of various public bodies, the ability of the government to manage the economy, trade secrets and other issues.
My position is that Esquimalt does not genuinely believe the proposal is exempt, nor do they believe that harm will result if the proposal becomes public. If this were the case, Esquimalt Council never would have passed an in-camera resolution asking the RCMP to release its proposal.
Another concern is that the Township has informed me that it will not release any information without an actual Order from the Commissioner. Often these “Request for Review” disputes get resolved through mediation with the OIPC. However, after a statement like that, it is difficult to believe that Esquimalt will participate in mediation in good faith.