Friday, April 28, 2006

John Reid reports to Parliament - and trashes Harper's plan

John Reid believes in two things: honest accountability and open access to government information by the shareholders of Canada. And, according to John Reid, Canada's information commissioner, Stephen Harper's proposed Accountability Act provides less of both.

"No previous government has put forward a more retrograde and dangerous set of proposals to change the Access to Information Act," he wrote. "The new government has done exactly the things for which its predecessor had been ridiculed."


Harper promised more accountability, but the proposed act will "reduce the amount of information available to the public, weaken the role of the information commissioner and increase the government's ability to cover-up wrongdoing, shield itself from embarrassment and control the flow of information to Canadians," he wrote.

Reid called the latest proposals "a bureaucrat's dream."

One of Reid's complaints is that the proposed legislation actually creates 10 new methods by which civil servants and politicians can refuse to comply with information requests.

Perhaps Harper still doesn't get it. When Canadians expressed, through various messages and behaviours, that they wanted better accountability and much more transparency, they meant they meant accountable to the public, the employers of the government.

John Baird, President of the Treasury Board says he's willing to work with Reid on amendments.

I don't believe that for a minute.

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