Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014
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Transparency again

Bravo to Liberal MP John Bryden. The diminutive Ontario government backbencher and former journalist is fighting to get the expense accounts for ministerial staffers publicly released and he's not giving up. He's been vocal in the House, in committee and in the media. An advocate for freedom of information, he's been scoffing at Treasury Board President Lucienne Robillard's argument that the exemption for ministerial staffers is to respect privacy laws. Mr. Bryden also pressed to get Justice Department officials to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to explain why they recommend access-to-information rules be changed so that ministers' expense accounts are no longer public. Hopefully this will happen soon. Mr. Bryden says Justice Department officials decided last year that ministers and their political staffers no longer qualify as officials of government institutions. This opinion, which was later implemented by Treasury Board as guidelines to all government departments, was based on a 1997 Supreme Court decision on privacy law, the federal government says.

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Transparency again

Bravo to Liberal MP John Bryden. The diminutive Ontario government backbencher and former journalist is fighting to get the expense accounts for ministerial staffers publicly released and he's not giving up. He's been vocal in the House, in committee and in the media. An advocate for freedom of information, he's been scoffing at Treasury Board President Lucienne Robillard's argument that the exemption for ministerial staffers is to respect privacy laws. Mr. Bryden also pressed to get Justice Department officials to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to explain why they recommend access-to-information rules be changed so that ministers' expense accounts are no longer public. Hopefully this will happen soon. Mr. Bryden says Justice Department officials decided last year that ministers and their political staffers no longer qualify as officials of government institutions. This opinion, which was later implemented by Treasury Board as guidelines to all government departments, was based on a 1997 Supreme Court decision on privacy law, the federal government says.

  

Parliamentary Calendar
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
HILL LIFE & PEOPLE SLIDESHOWS
Parliament Buildings' multi-billion-dollar renovation and construction: in photographs, by Liban Mohamed Sept. 23, 2014

The Hill Times photograph courtesy of Liban Mohamed

Third year civil engineering student, Liban Mohamed, a co-op student with Public Works this summer, tweeted this photo from the West Block. This is the excavation work to construct the West Block's portion of the new underground Visitors' Welcome Centre.

The Hill Times photograph courtesy of Liban Mohamed

Workers loading a fixture onto a construction elevator destined to top a chimney on the West Block's Mackenzie Tower.

The Hill Times photograph courtesy of Liban Mohamed

The secret staircase inside the Mackenzie Tower is named after Alexander Mackenzie, Canada's second prime minister. Mackenzie, whose office was in West Block, was apparently leery of lobbyists and used the secret staircase as an escape route.

The Hill Times photograph courtesy of Liban Mohamed

Copper roofing and metal vents near the top of the West Block's Mackenzie Tower, named after Alexander Mackenzie, Canada's second prime minister and first Liberal prime minister. Mackenzie, who was in office from 1873 to 1878, had his office in West Block. The Mackenzie Tower, the building's tallest tower, also to be completely dismantled and rebuilt as part of the restoration work.

The Hill Times photograph courtesy of Liban Mohamed

Small copper-rimmed windows set to be installed on the West Block's Mackenzie Tower. The West Block is one of four Parliament Buildings under construction as part of the Public Works' multi-billion-dollar rehabilitation project. It's expected to cost $2.64-billion by 2018. West Block's renovation is expected to cost $863-million and is expected to be completed in 2018.

The Hill Times photograph courtesy of Liban Mohamed

A worker wearing rubber gloves for protection is pictured cleaning West Block masonry with a toothbrush.

The Hill Times photograph courtesy of Liban Mohamed

A rooftop view of the West Block's courtyard, which is currently being excavated for construction of the $115-million glass-domed infill that will be the temporary home to the House Chamber beginning in 2018.

MICHAEL DE ADDER'S TAKE