A group calling on the provincial government to hold an inquiry to examine the death of Burton Winters says access to information has played a significant role to inform the public about what happened in the lead up to the discovery of his body.
“There’s some irony perhaps that we’re here today ... talking about the issue of access to information, and that the prevailing attitude and prevailing approach of government is to make sure information is not gotten out to the public — it’s suppressed,” said Merv Wiseman, who spoke Wednesday afternoon outside the Confederation Building in St. John’s on behalf of the group Friends of Burton Winters.
Proposed ammendments introduced this week in the House of Assembly by the province will place new restrictions on what government information can be accessed by the public through an access to information request. A filibuster initiated by opposition parties has kept MHAs in debate-mode on the proposed ammendments for over 40 hours.
Burton, 14, was reported missing on Jan. 29, 2012. His body was recovered on sea ice near Makkovik on Feb. 1.
Wiseman, a retired search and rescue co-ordinator, said media stories offering new information obtained through access to information requests have played an important role in learning more about what took place during the search for Burton.
Friends of Burton Winters were planning to hold a protest outside the Confederation Building on Wednesday, but elected to postpone the event due to the fact Premier Kathy Dunderdale is traveling outside the province.