Wouldn’t you like to know.
Back in 2009, many years ago, the Globe and Mail reported that the government of the day had made Canadians’ access to information a “toothless tiger.” The then-Information Commissioner, Robert Marleau, reported “that excessive delays are now routine, so access to timely information is denied. The act is supposed to allow any Canadian who pays a fee to get a government document within 30 days.”
“It’s no longer done,” he said. “It’s not the norm. It’s the exception.”
Current commissioner Suzanne Legault thinks it is a new day in Ottawa. She wrote back in February, “A new year brings with it new possibilities. This year, the stars are aligning. This is the year for a renewed commitment to transparency in government. This is the year for access to information.”
You know it is bad when bureaucrats are looking to astrology for their metaphors. We hope it has changed but we are not holding our breath.
It is really up to the press and Canadians themselves to take a hand in making their governments more accountable to them. In Alberta a few years ago, we saw a Premier take advantage of her position and use taxpayer funds to finance family outings and a new apartment for herself. She was caught and exposed in the end but she obviously thought she could get away with it – Canadians are too polite to complain.
The Monitor Telegram wants to aggregate the latest news from around Canada and even abroad on government waste and abuse to keep Canadians as informed as possible. They deserve the facts.
We might even get into the Access to Information business.