Home Page News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Books Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In

Access to information regime slipping into irrelevance?

By Michel Drapeau      

The time has come for the minister responsible for the administration of the act to have the auditor general conduct a system audit of the structure, machinery and performance of the ATI regime as well as the management and operation of the OIC organization as so to curb the current downwards slide of the ATI regime to irrelevance.

The purpose of the access to information legislation is to facilitate democracy by helping to ensure that citizens have the information required to participate meaningfully in the democratic process and that politicians and bureaucrats remain accountable. With increasing disappointment and much alarm, I am one of many early witnesses of an ATI regime that is on a slow (hopefully reversible) descent into irrelevance. Consider.  The Centre for Law and Democracy ranks our ATI regime 56 out of 89 countries. In September 2014, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression noted that our ATI “is severely failing to meet its minimum requirements, let alone adequately serve the population’s needs.” It went on: “In censoring information, the government is controlling and restricting public debate on critical issues that affect all Canadians.”  

More in News

SNC-Lavalin affair capturing Canadians’ attention, but no sign of shifting votes, pollsters suggest

News|By Emily Haws
MPs and pollsters say the issue could contribute to greater voter cynicism, which could lead to lower turnout at the polls in October.

Feds funnel another half-billion dollars into fixing public service pay in 2019 budget

Here are six takeaways for public servants, politicos, media, and policy wonks from the Liberals’ final, pre-election fiscal plan.

Liberals propose national school meal program as Canada remains back of pack on children’s nutrition

News|By Jolson Lim
In yesterday’s federal budget, the government announced its 'intention to work with provinces and territories' toward the creation of the program, though no money was earmarked for it.

Ottawa allows Maduro loyalists to run Venezuelan Embassy despite calling his government ‘illegitimate’

Canada has also recognized a representative of interim president Juan Guaidó, who says the ‘complicated’ situation shouldn’t be ‘rushed.’

Tory MPs push for loosening rules to allow more partisan mail-outs

‘If it is slanderous or defamatory, then we will be held accountable for that, and we will be held accountable by our electorate, in whether they vote for us again,’ says Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen.

PSAC, Treasury Board inch closer in contract talks as election looms

News|By Emily Haws
Meanwhile, the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers filed for binding arbitration March 11 in hopes of striking its own pre-election deal.

NDP ‘under the gun’ to name candidates, say politicos, as they trail Grits, Tories on campaign slate

Nearly a third of the NDP caucus elected in 2015 have opted not to return to Parliament, part of the reason the party has only named 12 per cent of the candidates expected to run in 2019.

Liberals speed up deficit reduction track with help of buoyant tax revenues

News|By Jolson Lim
Big-ticket items in the last federal budget of this majority Liberal government include more than $6.2-billion to expand federal financing of rental construction, $1-billion for increasing access to drugs for rare diseas

Trudeau Liberals’ final budget features measures for skills training, rural broadband, border security

News
Whereas last year’s budget was largely pitched at women, this year, Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s final budget is focused on skills training to help older workers and youth adapt to a rapidly changing workforce.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.