Russell Wangersky’s column of June 12, entitled “You’ll know only what they want you to know,” regarding the public’s restricted access to provincial government documents, rang a very loud warning bell of alarm, and a disturbing recall, for me.
The column spoke of the near-paranoidal fear and lament of our provincial government’s executive council related to the question of public access to sensitive government documents — the council’s fear that it might lose some of the most restrictive, secretive, drop-dead confidential decision-making powers, from my perspective, on this planet.
The flashback, for me, involved a $2,200 retro-pay concern, and a most egregious, selfish, obstructive abuse of power on the part of some very senior public servants in the premier’s office, department directors, an assistant deputy minister, a deputy minister and the inaccessible backroom Executive Council — the latter, perhaps the most secretive, dismissive, callous entity on the face of the Earth.
The only recourse should you wish to challenge a decision of that body is through the Supreme Court, and you best be “lawyered up,” as they say.
There came a point in the end, after nine years of constantly seeking redress, whereby I could not believe that a group of elected, mature, well-educated people, i.e. members of the Executive Council, could not understand the miscarriage of justice in my case. I simply refused to accept that the simple facts of the case could just be dismissed, denied.
I did not trust the decisions being made, given the clear evidence and the facts of the matter. Before finally giving up, and after some serious thought, I decided to contact the members of the Executive Council (cabinet members) personally. Each Monday morning, I would email each cabinet member, including the premier, minister of finance, etc., a page of the saga, something which would have gone on for about a year.
It took only four instalments, by my recall, when a call was made to me and a cheque for $2,200 was passed to me in a plain white envelope by a staff person unknown to me.
I am convinced that cabinet members are not always fully briefed on matters before they vote. Never give up. Reread Russell Wangersky’s column.