NEWS RELEASE · 21st July 2010
BC NDP Caucus
With ongoing chaos at the B.C. Lottery Corporation, the B.C. Liberal government has failed to address systemic problems that are now undermining the public interest, the New Democrats say.
“This is more evidence of chaos from a government that is fraught with scandal and is increasingly unable to protect the public interest. It’s up the minister now to step up and address the crisis of confidence plaguing B.C. Lotteries,” said New Democrat housing and social development critic Shane Simpson.
Part of the confusion is stemming from the fact that the government cannot get its story straight.
After much fanfare last week announcing the B.C. Liberals’ expansion into online gambling, and then suddenly shutting the site down just hours later, the B.C. Lottery Corporation finally admitted yesterday that they shut down the PlayNow.com because people's private information was being compromised.
At first, Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman and the BCLC tried to tell people that the site was shut down because it was a victim of its own success, as too many people tried to log on at once. Now, the leadership of the BCLC is changing their story and admitting that the situation was tied to a serious privacy breach.
“After assuring British Columbians they would protect people’s personal information, the B.C. Liberals have done just the opposite. It’s another troubling example of how this government has dropped the ball when it comes to the protection of privacy,” said New Democrat citizens’ services critic Doug Routley.
“The CEO of the BCL C has told the media that he had been keeping Minister Coleman in the loop on all developments – so why did the minister not tell people the truth last week? Leadership is about taking responsibility and being accountable, and the minister has done neither,” said Simpson.
On Tuesday it was also revealed that BCLC has been fined over $670,000 by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre, which enforces the federal Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act. Simpson has written to Minister Coleman asking him to release all information regarding these fines.
“The B.C. Liberal government might know how to make money off gaming, but it doesn’t appear that they know how to follow the rules,” said Simpson.
“Whether it’s the HST or gaming, the B.C. Liberals just can’t be trusted to keep their word,” said Simpson.
“To make matters worse, after breaking their promise not to expand gambling, the B.C. Liberals are now failing to provide the programs and services necessary to help people struggling with gambling addictions,” Simpson said. “People have heard nothing but excuses on all fronts of this scandal. It’s time for someone to take responsibility and start being up front with British Columbians, and I call on the minister to do that.”