Vincent Gogolek
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Vincent Gogolek is the Executive Director of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1987 and has degrees in Law (University of Ottawa) and Journalism (Carleton), and a diploma in International and Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics. His work history includes stintsin journalism, law and intergovernmental affairs. He has worked for legal aid in B.C. and Ontario and has been Policy Director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Entries by Vincent Gogolek

Access to Info Was Mostly Gloomy With Some Rays of Light in 2014

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 5:59 PM

We can't say 2014 was a banner year for Access to Information in this country.

According to the Centre for Law and Democracy, which publishes a ranking of countries that have right to information laws, Canada continues to drop and is now down to number 57 (out...

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Don't Tackle Increasing Access to Information Complaints by Silencing the Watchdog

(1) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 6:37 PM

The federal Access to Information system has been in crisis for a number of years, and last week the crisis deepened.

Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault told the Commons Access to Information, Ethics and Privacy committee (ETHI) that the number of complaints her office receives from people being denied...

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A Big Freedom Of Information Loophole Is Finally Closed

(1) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 9:58 PM

There was some heartwarming news last week for those of us who cling to old fashioned ways of doing things. The quaint custom of actually following the law has apparently made a comeback, at least in terms of B.C. Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

Two very important orders rolled out...

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Two Bills Later, Political Parties Can Still Collect Your Info Scot-Free

(1) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 9:54 AM

Are you worried about what federal political parties are doing with their ever-growing stashes of your personal information? Because you should be.

At a time when there is growing public concern about what is being done with our personal information and how it is being protected, federal political parties' databases...

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Will Harper Follow Tony Abbott's Lead and Abolish the Information Commissioner?

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2014 | 2:16 PM

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be meeting with PM Stephen Harper next week for two days of talks on a number of "global and regional issues, including the status of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, ongoing challenges in Ukraine and the Middle East, and developments in the...

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Will B.C. Continue To Thumb Its Nose At Information Commissioner?

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 5:42 PM

The B.C. legislature is finally ready to come back, and the Liberal government will hopefully be using the Speech from the Throne to announce a long list of important amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

These amendments have been suggested to address major problems over...

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Transit Referendum Should Be Delayed To Avoid Cluster Fiasco

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 2:22 PM

B.C. Premier Christy Clark is thinking about not holding a referendum on Lower Mainland transit funding in conjunction with this November's municipal elections.

In additional to the policy and political reasons for putting off the vote, there is also the potential problem with the spending restrictions governing municipal...

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Concerned About A B.C. ID Card? Have Your Say Before the Deadline Passes

(3) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 6:11 PM

The BC government's stealth consultation on its controversial ID card program is finally underway, but it will wrap up soon.

The ID Card, known as the BC Services Card, has been rolling out since February, and it combines both the drivers license and the provincial health care card, with lots...

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Which Is More Embarrassing: Our Men's Soccer Team or National FOI Ranking?

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 9:50 AM

Our ongoing search for signs of optimism in terms of transparency in this country is becoming increasingly desperate as governments continue to throw up obstacles to their citizens' right to know.

Just last week the Centre for Law and Democracy, which publishes a ranking of countries that...

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Will Our Government Become More Transparent?

(2) Comments | Posted September 25, 2013 | 1:20 PM

Things have been pretty grim on the right to know front in recent months.

The highest levels of two provincial governments (BC and Ontario) have apparently embraced oral government as a way of life, shredding and deleting the records they are unable to avoid creating. One of those governments...

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Stephen Harper's Secret Open Data Survey

(16) Comments | Posted September 5, 2013 | 2:38 PM

Shhhhh. Don't tell anybody, but the Harper™ government is 'consulting' Canadians on Open Government. Well, sort of.

There was no press release announcing the consultation when the notice popped up on the federal government's Open Data website late last month, and the deadline is this Monday, September 9....

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A BC Service Card Offer We Can't Refuse?

(1) Comments | Posted August 26, 2013 | 4:00 PM

The provincial government is finally going to consult with British Columbians about its controversial ID card program, but it doesn't seem open to hearing criticism about it.

The new ID card, known as the BC Services Card, began rolling out earlier this year. At present, it combines both...

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Harper's Gag Orders Sweep While Canadians Sleep

(103) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 12:30 PM

The Harper government wants to hide all of its secrets.

While reviewing the latest edition of the federal government's little-known legislative bulletin, The Canada Gazette, Canadian Press reporter Jim Bronskill noticed a troubling detail: a new order is now on the table that would dramatically expand...

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Transparency? Not On Harper's Watch

(18) Comments | Posted June 9, 2013 | 3:36 PM

The federal Conservative government is now providing punch lines for jokes about how 'transparent' they are.

Q. How much money does a federal employee have to pull in before the government makes it public?

A. About half a million dollars.

Too bad no one's laughing.

In a stunning move...

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Stop The Ministerial Spin Cycle for a Stronger B.C. Government

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2013 | 5:06 PM

With the provincial election finally over, a new majority in the legislature, and a new mandate for Premier Christy Clark, it's time to take a look at the prospects for improving information rights in this province.

There have been more than a few problems on the freedom of information...

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B.C. Election 2013: What The Parties Plan To Tell You

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2013 | 1:38 PM

To this point in the provincial election campaign, the leaders of the four major parties have been quite reticent to reveal where they stand on some of the burning issues in the field of information rights.

That's why, as we mentioned in our last post, the B.C. Freedom of...

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Where's The Integrity?

(4) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 1:21 PM

The provincial election campaign is well underway and all the major parties have released their platforms. But unfortunately for those of us concerned about information and privacy rights, the pickings are awfully slim.

Information issues were smoking hot right up to the drop of the writ. But ever since,...

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BC Election 2013: Put Information Rights Front And Centre

(0) Comments | Posted April 12, 2013 | 5:28 PM

A few short days from now, the writ will drop on the 2013 provincial election, kicking off twenty-eight days of heated campaigning. And while there's no shortage of issues for voters to consider, recent controversies around government secrecy and attempts to undermine Freedom of Information make it clear that information...

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BC Election 2013: How Transparent Are Clark And Dix?

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2013 | 1:56 PM

Information issues are going to be big in the coming provincial election campaign. In the past few months alone, we've seen controversy erupt over disappearing (or non-existent) government records, the use of private emails by public officials to avoid freedom of information requests, the rollout of problem-plagued IT systems, and...

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Harper Government Centralizing, Slashing Federal Web Info

(26) Comments | Posted March 10, 2013 | 4:03 AM

In my last post, which looked at Tony Clement's not-so-open "Open Government" initiatives, I mentioned that the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) had recently received leaked documents detailing a new federal government plan to make government websites a whole lot less informative.

Since being tipped...

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