Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blacked out tax leakage analysis worked just fine for Canada's media?

Government systematically preventing thousands of records from being released to public

OTTAWA - The Conservative government is systematically preventing the release of thousands of Access to Information records, Liberal Public Works Critic Martha Hall Findlay and Treasury Board Critic Dan McTeague said today.

"Under this government, Access to Information requests have been ignored, responses have been delayed and when information is finally provided, it is often so largely blacked out as to be useless," said Ms. Hall Findlay. "Timely and full disclosure of information-real governmental transparency and accountability-are the very foundations of our democracy. Canadians should not feel that their government is hiding things from them."

Ms. Hall Findlay was referring to media reports that revealed the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) has systematically prevented the release of hundreds of thousands of government records.

According to Canwest News Service "since January 2008, DFAIT has prevented the release of more than 160,000 pages of government records on everything from the mission in Afghanistan to new free trade deals to the NATO briefing materials Maxime Bernier left at his girlfriend's home." (Canwest, February 16, 2009)

But what Ms. Hall Findlay said is more disturbing are the many allegations of direct involvement by both the PMO and the PCO in vetting information before disclosure.

"We need to know whether there is a conscious effort to prevent the disclosure of information for political purposes," she said.

"The President of the Treasury Board has failed again," said Liberal Treasury Board Critic Dan McTeague. "Just last week the Privacy Commissioner identified a lack of 'strong leadership' from the Treasury Board and this week it's more of the same. The lack of openness and accountability stands in sharp contrast to what Canadians expect of their government."

"Mr. Harper needs to change his government's attitude of secrecy, and increase the resources needed for proper disclosure of important information," said Ms. Hall Findlay.

"Access to information is a cornerstone of our democracy. We will be holding this government to account on their lack of transparency and accountability."


1 comment:

Dr Mike said...

Martha Hall Findlay : "We need to know whether there is a conscious effort to prevent the disclosure of information for political purposes."

Uh , do you think??

The politicians should be embarrassed if they are doing something that they need to hide from us.

Hiding is only required if that thing they are doing would not pass the smell test on it`s own.

I am afraid that we all need to stand up-wind of the "Flaherty 18" as these babies are ripe with gov`t rot.

Dr Mike.