BOX 25, BALDONNEL, B.C. VOC 1CO
February 14, 2015
Minister, Community, Sport and Cultural Development
Re: Tyranny of Secrecy
I believe that you and I share a fundamental belief in the foundation of democracy (Greek, demos = people, cracy = rule). It is the secrets that are maintained by in-camera meetings that erode the fundamentals of openness and transparency that all British Columbians expect of their elected representatives. It was Benthall who recognized the danger to democracy when he stated ‘in secrecy there lies a conspiracy’
The recent effort to establish a NE Mayor’s Coalition with power over the Peace River Regional District was hidden in a series of secret (in-camera) meetings. There was no mandate provided by the PRRD citizens and the in-camera meetings do not meet with any local gov’t definition for in-camera meetings.
This effort funded by $2 Million of taxpayers’ money and run by an Alberta Consultant was portrayed as a venue for renegotiating the PRRD Fair Share Agreement and a vehicle for resource development in the NE. It was none of the above but rather a thinly veiled initiative to change the governance Model of the NE by excluding the Rural Community and their elected electoral representatives.
It has only been the foresight of the Mayor and Council of Hudson’s Hope and now the courage of the Mayor and Council of Dawson Creek that have brought this conspiracy to the fore.
As a past Director of Area C of the PRRD, I have observed that secrets reduce the taxpayers’ scrutiny. This causes disruptive and distrustful reaction to local governance. In order to minimize this distrust I am requesting your office take a close look at:
1. Minimizing (eliminating) the need for in-camera meetings at the local government level.
2. Your office needs to be pro-active in enforcing these rules with adequate penalties in place administered by your office via the Municipal Auditors office.
If measures are not put in place, the public trust will continue to be abused and taxpayers’ monies will be wasted for no positive purpose.
Thank you for your active consideration of this request.
Arthur A. Hadland
Past Director Area C, PRRD