It’s time for the Prime Minister’s Office to be covered by the Access to Information Act.
From deleted ministerial staff emails, to emasculating a proposed private member’s federal sunshine salary bill, authorities want to continue excluding a wide swath of government records from public access.
A quick look at how Tory Cabinet ministers last June communicated a Canadian Border Services Agency announcement of increases to the personal travel exemption limit of goods that could be brought back into Canada.
Human Resources Canada’s loss of a hard drive with personal information of some 583,000 also raises questions about how much do we really know about the vast amount of personal information that the Canadian government or other governments hold.
A new kind of social media-savvy, youthful native rank-and-file leadership is emerging and it feels duped by Harper’s approach with his government’s fast-tracked legislative enactments and the government’s coordinated drive to resurface the look of reserves.
It’s important that a country be able to keep records of its past publicly accessible.
It’s a key case expected to be held next year as the outcome of how broad policy advice secrecy claims will affect how much public access there is to government records in all Canadian jurisdictions.
There is no comparable requirement for posting the exact salaries and benefits of government employees or the details of all transactions occurring between Ottawa’s legion of lobbyists and politicians and officials.
Parliament has done nothing for the Access to Information Act which can be a legal weapon that sheds light into corrupt practices, government waste, unhealthy consumer and environmental situations, and government privacy intrusions.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s rush to downgrade federal information holdings and services raises that concern.
We desperately need to change the way our federal, provincial, and territorial laws readily exclude and exempt basic financial and consumer data, avoiding public and Parliamentary scrutiny.
In a February judgment, the Supreme Court essentially broadened and strengthened the third-party notification privileges corporations have that delay release and second lowered the evidentiary standards that the government needs to follow to show that records should remain secret. This will result in much more government data being kept secret under access legislation.
Throwing the public the equivalent of two cute pandas or X-number of new data sets now and then, or undercutting Parliamentary committees’ work is not the equivalent of an open government partnership with the public.
The Privy Council Office approves several departments’ plans to create their own YouTube/Twitter sites.
No doubt the government of the day has the right to legislate and to remake policy, but eroding Ottawa’s shaky information management practices further for political reasons is not without penalties and does have some far-reaching negative consequences.
The International Conference of Information Commissioners held in Ottawa last week helped illustrate just how far behind Canada has fallen in progressive access to information circles. It’s not good.
The time to push for transparency is in the first year of a new government's mandate.
The 2006 background checking guidelines, obtained from PCO under the Access to Information Act, do apply to advisers to the PCO as well as Cabinet ministers, Supreme Court justices and very senior officials. And they do include checking criminal and polic
Former South African president Nelson Mandela visited Ottawa in May 1992. The honorary Canadian who helped end apartheid in his country died on Dec. 5 at 95 years old. Governor General David Johnston said, "When history speaks of the very best examples of humanity, we will speak of Nelson Mandela." He's pictured here with former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney.