Reform of access to information: the Trudeau government persists and signs

News 19 October, 2017
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    Scott Brison

    Christopher Nardi

    Wednesday, 18 October 2017 18:04

    Wednesday, 18 October 2017 18:04

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    OTTAWA, The Trudeau government persists and signs: its reform of the access to information is “a step forward” for the Canadians, in spite of the criticism that is coming from all units.

    “There is a reason why no previous government has not fulfilled its promise to modernise the law of access: this is not easy and it is difficult to please everyone. [Our proposals] represent a significant progress,” said the minister of the Treasury Board, Scott Brison.

    The minister, and the minister of democratic Institutions, Karina Gould, testified Wednesday before a parliamentary committee to defend the bill C-58.

    It should “raise the bar in terms of openness and transparency within the government,” updating for the first time in nearly 34 years the Law on access to information, according to the liberals.

    However, the criticisms against the proposed reform have rather cast of all units in the course of the summer, and reached their climax a few weeks ago when the information commissioner has published a report lapidary about C-58. His conclusion: the reform is altogether a decrease of the access to information of Canadians.

    They include new obligations restrictive for the applicants information, new grounds for the government to refuse to publish documents and even less tools that allow the commissioner to compel the government to disseminate information.

    Even worse: the liberal government has denied an important election promise by refusing to secure the offices of the prime minister, ministers and the Senate to act. Instead, it proposes to require the office to disseminate proactively certain information of his choice.

    “The draft law and the proactive dissemination are a lure total”, denounced in committee of the conservative mp Peter Kent, while the ministers Brison and Gould continued to defend the idea that the proactive dissemination was equivalent to open law firms to requests for access to information.