I didn’t think the Distribution of Liquor Project could get more suspicious, but the BC Liberals must not have been paying attention to public and media discourse. I made a very simple Freedom of Information request to find out exactly when the six bidders on the long list submitted their bids.
It’s not the first I’ve made. Here is a previous post about how I found out LDB and the government are hiding cost/benefit analyses and business case reports regarding privatization. I have since appealed to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
On this latest request, the government initially told me I’d get a response by Aug. 15. Now it has notified me that it is delaying disclosure until as late as Sept. 27 because it feels like consulting with another public body. It has the power to invoke further delays. Sometimes the information is so sensitive, that the government can make a valid case to delay disclosure. Most of the time the government is motivated to withhold records, either temporarily or permanently, for fear of embarrassment.
Minister Margaret MacDiarmid — whose portfolio includes Open Government — told me on July 9 that it was her ministry that was managing the privatization bidding process. Citizens’ Services is in charge of government buying and contracting and Citizens’ Services was in charge of receiving the formal bids by the 4 p.m., June 29 deadline.
MacDiarmid’s staff now tell me they want to consult with the Liquor Distribution Branch and Energy and Mines. LDB answers directly to Energy and Mines and its minister, Rich Coleman. See the letter below.
The shortlist, which could be as little as one bidder or as many as three, is supposed to be announced July 20. (We know a lot about Exel, but how much do you know about ContainerWorld, the only B.C. bidder which has an interesting relationship with an Exel sister company? And what about Schenker and Kuehne + Nagel and their previous relationship with Exel in the European Union?)
Why does the government want to hide the time(s) and date(s) that the bidders submitted their documents?
If all six bidders did respond on-time, as per the rules, shouldn’t the proof be made public now?
News and views on Vancouver 2010 (and beyond) from Bob Mackin.