In this article, you will get all the information regarding Ian Mulgrew: Political accountability badly needed in B.C. and beyond

From coast-to-coast, delay and obfuscation have become the all-too-common response of politicians and those in charge

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During the COVID pandemic, federal and provincial health officers such as Dr. Bonnie Henry maintained that scientific evidence supported uncompromisingly tough measures and the firing of recalcitrant professionals and others.

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The risk was so high of exposure, sickness and death that mandatory vaccinations were needed, and refusing to obey the unprecedented orders brought stiff punishment.

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Now that the country has returned to normal, however, Henry and the government are dragging their feet on producing the promised evidence for the draconian fiats.

Henry maintained she considered and continues to consider “the currently available generally accepted scientific evidence,” and to “continually engage in the reconsideration of these measures, based upon the information and evidence available to me.”

Still, a handful of health-care professionals — York Hsiang, David William Morgan, and Hilary Vandergugten — insist the orders violated constitutional guarantees that included religious freedom and security of the person.

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Not surprisingly, they would like to see what justified the tar-and-feathering of individuals who had legitimate reasons or issues of conscience for their dissent: Was there another, less-heavy-handed way to deal with their concerns?

Instead of providing the material, which you might have thought was already at hand, government lawyers filed an affidavit from Henry’s deputy.

Dr. Brian Emerson offered an explanation as to why the Nov. 18, 2021, order was issued then renewed and revised on Sept. 12, 2022. It also contained fresh opinions on key issues.

Lawyer Peter Gall fumed to the B.C. Court of Appeal that the information and cited research were inadmissible, after-the-fact and cherry-picked.

“(Dr. Emerson) is directly interested in the outcome of these proceedings … a lead official involved in developing and drafting the very orders challenged in these judicial reviews,” the veteran Vancouver barrister complained, asking the province’s high bench to relax the usual rules and allow him to be cross-examined.

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“Indeed, it appears that the predominant purpose of the affidavit is to substitute the statements and conclusions of Dr. Emerson for the actual record and thereby confine the evidence before the court to statements and conclusions that buttress the reasons of the (Provincial Health Office).”

In his opinion, the provincial government and Henry were saying, “Trust us, we got it right.”

Over the last several months, numerous similar cases across the country are running into similar challenges — the institutional promises of transparency sound hollow.

From coast-to-coast, delay and obfuscation have become the all-too-common response of politicians and those in charge.

Whether it is Hockey Canada trying to tap-dance around junior hockey sex scandals or the Liberal cabinet’s smug refusal to precisely explain why a national emergency was declared, the inability of taxpayers in a modern democracy to get answers is appalling.

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In 2009, a lawsuit was launched alleging the provincial health-care system was broken and violated the constitution.

The case still isn’t resolved.

Regardless, despite government claims that Medicare was wonderful and everything world-class (Premier John Horgan repeated the boast even this year), the system has apparently collapsed and requires massively more funding.

It is the same elsewhere, and not just over health-care concerns.

Residents of Nova Scotia remain puzzled more than two years after a police groupie committed the worst mass murder spree in Canadian history.

RCMP officers huddled in fear in April 2020, failed to sound a public alert, and one drove for two miles before turning around after spotting the killer in a police cruiser going the other way.

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He didn’t want to confront the man who slaughtered 21 people.

The commission of inquiry has proven to be exactly what politicians and cops wanted it to be — a time-wasting, futile process to distract attention, allow those who made the decisions to retire, and protect the reputations of others involved.

It needed an extension and has until March to report.

After a May school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, within days police officers who stood idly by were labelled cowards and their boss fired.

Yet the RCMP commissioner continues in her job after the 2020 slaughter. And the country was made a laughing stock for declaring a national emergency earlier this year when police couldn’t find enough tow trucks to clear downtown Ottawa.

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So far, the prime minister, too, has avoided accountability and critics fear the federal inquiry run by a former Liberal staffer will as well go easy on him.

The nation’s courts are useless as a brake on bad government. They are too costly and too slow.

The health professionals’ appeal hearing, for instance, won’t resume until the last week of November, and who knows when it will end.

Moreover, it takes three to four years at least for a public inquiry to produce a report — even on something as uncontroversial as the state of the salmon fishery.

This situation has produced a grumbling, divisive, conspiratorial environment in the country — and the COVID court cases promise to exacerbate that mood.

This lack of transparency and the distrust it engenders is eroding faith in governments and our institutions. It needs to be addressed.

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Ian Mulgrew: Political accountability badly needed in B.C. and beyond

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