Gateway Gazette

New Docs Show NDP Justice Department Interfering in FOIP Requests

EDMONTON, AB: New documents released by Wildrose (Friday) show how the Justice Department is interfering in FOIP requests across government.

Last fall, Wildrose received a memo that detailed the centralization of FOIP services under Service Alberta, primarily cross-ministry requests. The memo shows heavy interference from Alberta Justice and legal counsel from the moment a request is received to how each request is dealt with.

Cyr said it’s time to end the culture of secrecy surrounding Alberta’s FOIP system.

“Legal Counsel should only be involved when absolutely necessary,” Wildrose Shadow Service Alberta Minister Scott Cyr said. “Lawyers should not be involved from the outset of the process, nor should they be providing policy advice.”

On Dec. 13, Cyr asked about the involvement of lawyers and abuse of legal privilege in the FOIP process. Service Alberta Minister Stephanie McLean replied that this was “absolutely absurd.”

Investigation reports from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta in early 2017 also found lawyer interference.

“This NDP government has denied there’s an issue and continues to blame the former government for their failures,” Cyr said. “Under no circumstances should FOIP staff be muzzled by NDP government lawyers. The NDP government needs to work with the Privacy Commissioner and repair the FOIP system.”

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