Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/5/2012 (3466 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The provincial government may not have been trying to hide something nefarious, as Tory emergency measures critic Stu Briese believes, but demanding $1.9 million to fulfil a Free Press request for communications between pivotal agencies in last year's flood fight appeared clearly designed to frustrate. Running a search for correspondence, emails and memos should not take the equivalent of 30 years full-time work from the bureaucracy.
The newspaper had asked for communications among provincial and federal officials and the Manitoba Association of Native Fire Fighters in its investigation into how the number of flood evacuees from First Nations reserves being compensated rose continually over the year. Ottawa says 170 people from Lake St. Martin claiming benefits were ineligible.
Privacy rules mean some editing is required. But Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton was right in suggesting there must have been a simpler solution to some bureaucrats' breathless, initial response, and so now the files will be turned over to the Free Press at no cost.
Now, if Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, also holding up a similar request, were to see the same logic, Manitobans might get a better picture of how the bill for keeping evacuees warm, dry and fed was allowed to grow too large.