I understand the (publisher Bob Barnett's) point in downplaying (ridiculing) the significance of the RMOW's "award" as the most secretive government in Canada.
Honestly — the award and accompanying comments did have the hallmark of a junior high hissy fit...
Still, at all levels of government in our democracy, I don't believe there is such a thing as too much openness or too much access. The RMOW doesn't have secret codes (Launch or DaVinci) to protect but, as is often stated, it's the perception of access as much as the practical and actual openness that is crucial in our democracy; for the citizen and the Fifth Estate alike.
The legal requirement to protect some negotiations, Human (Resources) and personnel privacy issues is in place — everything (else) should be a wide-open book.
Citizen participation in government, we are told, is crucial in a democracy. Anything that can be in place to generate participation and promote activism should be encouraged.
In the healthy democracy, which we live in — government policy, action, consultations, expenditures, (some secrets) and intent need to be accessible in a timely, easy and transparent manner.
B. Keith Buchholz
Thanks to my favourite eight year old
As the founder and original organizer of the Father & Daughter Dance, I would like to thank Janel Ryan for inviting my daughter Meagan and myself back to the 20th Anniversary of this now "Hallmark" event.
It made us very proud to see the tradition has lived on in its true original spirit, and although 20 years has passed (Meagan is now 26) the great vibes haven't changed.
Thanks to all the dads and daughters for keeping this special event alive, and congratulations to the organizing committee for all its hard work.
Alan and Meagan Lande
Best planning practices needed
The Upper Lillooet Hydroelectric Project (ULHP) received its Environmental Assessment Certificate from the B.C. Government on January 8.
Accompanying the certificate is a "Table of Conditions" that Innergex, the proponent, must comply with. The extensive conditions include approximately 30 plans nested within the "Construction Environmental Management Plan" that include access management, fish salvage, and management plans for a variety of species including grizzly bears and mountain goats. Additional stipulations include participation — including financial contribution — in the B.C. government's regional Grizzly Bear Monitoring Plan, plus mitigation measures for other species such as wolverine, moose and mule deer. Some of these plans must be completed 30 days before construction can start.
On April 30 the Pemberton Wildlife Association (PWA) sent a letter to the minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thomson, the Environmental Assessment Office and others in government, as well as Innergex. In that letter the PWA included the following points: Given the importance of minimizing the impacts of the ULHP, that there needs to be meaningful public consultation and opportunity for review of the Access, grizzly bear, fish and other plans stipulated in the Environmental Assessment Certificate so that the plans are not developed solely by conversations between the B.C. government and Innergex.
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