Councils and boards need to stop questioning Question Periods

(Victoria, 8 January 2013) – IntegrityBC is calling on the B.C. government to amend the applicable legislation to make public Question Periods mandatory at local council and school board meetings governed by a common set of rules.

“The patchwork quilt regarding Question Periods across the province is effectively making some citizens less equal than others,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. “What isn’t rocket science is being made into it by a few local councils and school boards who seem more afraid of local citizens than democracy.”

After cancelling its oral Question Period in January, the District of Lillooet is now moving to a hybrid form of Question Period where citizens will only be able to ask questions if they pertain to items on the council agenda and if they have been submitted in writing on the Wednesday immediately before the meeting.

“It’s difficult to imagine NDP leader Adrian Dix agreeing to similar rules if the B.C. Liberal government tried such a stunt,” said Travis.

In response to growing demands for a Question Period at the Victoria School Board, a majority of trustees have once again shuffled the proposal off to another group to study even after the first study showed that Victoria was only one of two boards out of 21 surveyed that did not have a Question Period at board meetings.

Last May, IntegrityBC made a presentation at the board meeting advocating in favour of a Question Period.

When more-and-more district and city councils and school boards are finding ways to get closer to the citizens that they serve, it almost seems medieval for some to leap back to the past by designing new techniques at restricting citizen involvement.

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For more information:

Dermod Travis, Executive Director