Government Watchdog IntegrityBC launches

Victoria, BC, 30 March 2011) – IntegrityBC a non-partisan organization working to promote integrity and accountability in BC politics was launched in Victoria on Wednesday. The organization ran its first ad campaign today in four BC daily newspapers, three interior weeklies and on four radio stations.

IntegrityBC’s mission is to address broader issues of integrity and accountability across government as a way to complement the work of existing special interest groups who serve issue specific areas.

“BC politicians must be held to account when they break their promises, because integrity doesn’t have a ‘best before’ date,” said IntegrityBC founder Wayne Crookes. “Yet, as as we worked to lay the groundwork for today’s launch, one voter also told us that we have to break the all too common ‘pattern of cynicism’ which exists.”
Crookes, a Vancouver-area businessman and investor, said the group took her words to heart “because IntegrityBC doesn’t want to fuel public cynicism. We want to empower citizens and communities. And when necessary, we’ll hold the government to account constructively.”

IntegrityBC also announced plans to launch its first petition in June calling for reforms to BC’s electoral finance laws. The group is inviting citizens to complete its online survey at before the petition’s official launch.

“Elections BC may believe that BC’s electoral finance laws “prevent money from unfairly influencing election outcomes and from swaying public policy decisions,” but the public doesn’t buy it,” said IntegrityBC spokesperson Dermod Travis.

“When close to two-thirds of funding to the Liberal party came from corporations in 2009, it’s understandable why many question the relationship between those same donors and government decisions.” Travis noted that similar concerns existed when the NDP was in power in regards to its funding from organized labour.

The group also launched the first of a number of interactive features that the organization hopes will engage citizens with BC politics.

Using its website and social media, IntegrityBC will offer citizens the chance to grade their MLA’s performance between elections. These grades will form part of an annual report card on MLAs and the BC government.

Citizens can elicit answers and analysis behind the issues as part of the site’s ‘Feel left out?’ feature and IntegrityBC’s YouTube channel will offer a platform to pose questions to MLAs for a video response.

Over the coming months the group will roll out other resources to help empower citizens, host public events to engage voters, and release research on government accountability.

“Because BC can do better, but only when each and every citizen is engaged in its governance,” said Crookes.

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For more information:
Dermod Travis