Thanks Soggy, your point about shutting down sources is very valid. We’ve seen how federal scientists are being muzzled and the resultant negative impact on informed debate. Certainly there were some sorry examples that came out during the Cohen inquiry where Federal departments attempted to suppress and deny any information that was starting to emerge on the ISA virus.
Crazy Horse, thank you for the link to the subsequent Province article. I’d like to accept Govt. assurances at face value. Minister McRae and ministry employees including the chief Vet are saying the law does not apply to media and concerned citizens. However West Coast Environmental Law is saying the Act is open to interpretation and potentially can be used to silence the media and concerned citizens. See their critique of the act at alexandramorton.typepad.com/McRa … 20copy.pdf. Interestingly the Lawyer for West Coast makes the same point that Mig made earlier that this wouldn’t survive a Charter Challenge. (If you have the ability to defend yourself).
The act has also generated concern from BC’s Privacy Commissioner. See oipc.bc.ca/pdfs/public/Minis … 7(3May2012.pdf. Of interest is the commissioner’s link to her order F10-06 to the ministry to disclose results of random testing at fish farms. That order while dense reading makes some exceedingly good points about balancing the need for confidentiality and the public’s right to know. This is after all the reason FOI came into being and the Animal Health Act is trying to circumvent the intent of and the safeguards built into the Freedom of Information law and regulations.
The backdrop to all of this is now the third Salmon Farm in two weeks being quarantined due to an outbreak of the IHN virus which also impacts pink, chum, coho, sockeye, Atlantic salmon and Pacific herring. While reportedly not harmful to humans, we have major infection sites on our coast that may impact our wild stocks.
I started following the Farmed Salmon debate and Alex Morton’s work as I simply did not know whether Salmon Farming was a good thing or not. My opinion is any restriction or attempt to restrict the flow of information to the public about the risk/benefits of this industry is offensive. All in all, I remain concerned that this Act as written is not in the public’s best interest whether or not it can be used to Gag the Media and private citizens.