Information Commissioner says Conservatives are tightening information control

Information Commissioner John Reid says the Federal Accountability Act contains “retrograde and dangerous” proposals to further restrict the kind of information Canadians can receive about their federal government. A Canadian Press report says:

The proposed Accountability Act, now being debated in the House of Commons, will actually make government less accountable when it comes to making information available to Canadians, Information Commissioner John Reid said Friday.

In a special report to Parliament, Reid said no government has ever put forward “a more retrograde and dangerous” set of proposals to change the Access to Information Act since the legislation first came into effect in 1983.

The Accountability Act, and other reforms being proposed, will “increase the government's ability to cover up wrongdoing, shield itself from embarrassment and control the flow of information to Canadians,” says the scathing report.

And from Reid’s report itself:

The government’s approach to the access to information elements of its accountability package of reforms, came as a surprising disappointment to many – including the Information Commissioner. Many of the key reforms which the government had promised to enact, failed to find their way into the Federal Accountability Act. Instead, the government proposes to send them to committee for further study and discussion. Such a process raises concerns about the government’s commitment to access reform. Yet, of even more serious concern, is the content of the discussion paper issued by the government to aid the study and discussion of access reform. All of the positions the government now takes in the discussion paper are contrary to the positions the Conservative Party took, and its leader espoused, during the election campaign.

The Ottawa Citizen puts this story on the front page today.



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