4 resolutions are being sent to the Union of BC Municipalities from the City of Prince George for consideration for their next convention.
Three resolutions deal with increasing sanctions for those elected officials that fail to respect confidentiality despite their oath to office. The justification for doing so is that the current $2000 fine for a guilty offender is not high enough to discourage one from offending.
The first resolution asks the government to add more possible sanctions, up to and including disqualification from office on council, to those elected officials who breach the duty to respect confidentiality. The second resolution asks for the same thing for elected officials who breach of the required oath of office.
The third resolution asks the government to amend the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to increase the maximum fine of $2000 to individuals that are guilty of unauthorized disclosure of information.
The fourth resolution (which was a paper attachment distributed to Council Chamber, with the result being that the author does not have a copy) is a generalized resolution asking that a official discussion in regards to breach of privacy by elected officials be held among municipalities, so that they can share best practices.
Councillor Brian Skakun asked what was driving these resolutions. Mayor Dan Rogers responded that it was to provide clarity on the issue and to ask Council if they wish to see legislative changes. Beyond that, the Mayor thought that the driving force behind the resolutions was obvious.
Councillor Garth Frizzell added that these resolutions were about strengthening privacy in the future based on Prince George’s experience and not looking back on the past.
Councillor Skakun also wanted to know what kind of checks and balances there would be to ensure open government. Councillor Frizzell response by saying that these resolutions would be strengthening one of those checks. Councillor Skakun expressed concern that these changes would make a Council Judge, Jury, & Executioner. He said he wanted changes to legislation so that elected officials could be whistle-blowers.
Mayor Rogers disagreed that Council would become Judge, Jury, & Executioner if these changes were made. He stated that the Community Charter has a process from removing elected officials that requires the use of the courts.
The resolutions to be sent to UBCM were approved, with Councillor Skakun being the only one opposed.