The provincial government introduced changes to the Freedom of Information Act on Monday that will make it more difficult for the public, the media and the auditor general to get access to government documents.
Why the big deal, you may ask?
If any people in this country should know how too much secrecy can impact the lives of every person in province it should be Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
It’s not that many years ago that probing by then auditor general John Noseworthy uncovered the distasteful — and often illegal — spending habits of politicians of all parties.
Taxpayer money was squandered on everything from fine wine to lotto tickets and some of those same sticky-fingered MHAs ended up going to jail for their misdeeds, only because they were nabbed by Noseworthy pouring over documents.
Truth is, someone has to be looking over the shoulder of governments or they tend to reach a point in their tenures where they think they are entitled to run things any way they want.
They spend taxpayer money like it belongs to them and there is plenty to spend these days in this oil rich province with billions of dollars coming and going.
Opposition politicians forced the House of Assembly to stay open all night fighting the passage of Bill 29, but their battle was a lost cause from the start.
The PCs have enough power to pass the bill and it will eventually become law. It will also be a black mark against this government and its predecessor which promoted how open and above board they are and were.
This is all about preventing embarrassing details about the ruling party’s blunders from becoming public.
There is no other reason for putting a cloak of silence over government operations and keeping the opposition and public at bay.
It’s a sad day for democracy and a giant step backward for openness in government.
Kathy Dunderdale and every single one of her underlings should be ashamed.