Tuesday, June 20, 2017

#CoverYourButt-------“The Act is being used as a shield against transparency and is failing to meet its policy objective to foster accountability and trust in our government.”-------------The real problem is the way the system is administered by the bureaucracy, which is zealous in its protection of the public’s right to be ignorant.-----------“You broke your campaign promise right here. All you’ve done is codify proactive disclosure for a certain set of documents in ministers’ offices. Why did you break that campaign promise?” asked one disgruntled reporter.--------------Liberal Party of Canada | Parti libéral du Canada Sponsored · What’s most important to you? Take this quick survey to help Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team build a better future for all Canadians.--------Julie Ali What is most important is that you keep your promises Mr. Trudeau instead of doing these fake surveys to plan your next media blitz. Information is important and we should have access to it. I don't think your government is any different than the one of Mr. Harper except for a better looking Prime Minister.-------

All these broken promises indicate that citizens should be writing to their MLAs in Alberta and their MPs in Ottawa.
Access to information should not be a struggle where government tries to cover their exposed behinds with excuses for not releasing information or redacting information so that the released reports are useless. It's troubling that we hire new folks and we get even worse outcomes in terms of transparency. Who do we vote for next?




This is baloney. The Liberals could do this review of this act in a millisecond. If they can approve of Chinese takeovers of major Canadian properties for Anbang and for other Chinese companies but can't do this one little thing for us this tells me that the Liberals are just as self serving as the Conservatives we just laid off. Too bad. Time to vote out this crew.
OTTAWA — The Liberal government says a full review of the outdated Access to Information Act will have to wait another two years. A comprehensive examination of…
HUFFINGTONPOST.CA

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http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/03/31/trudeau-government-asks-for-ideas-on-open-government_n_9582604.html

Trudeau Liberals Say Full Review Of Access To Information Law 2 Years Away

03/31/2016 11:47 EDT | Updated 04/01/2017 05:12 EDT





  • Jim Bronskill, The Canadian PressCP
OTTAWA — The Liberal government says a full review of the outdated Access to Information Act will have to wait another two years.
A comprehensive examination of the access law, which people use to request federal government files, will begin in 2018, Treasury Board President Scott Brison said Thursday.
scott brison
Treasury Board President Scott Brison speaks to a conference on open government in Ottawa, Thursday March 31, 2016. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)
Meantime, the government plans to introduce legislation as soon as this year with quick fixes to the law, based on promises the Liberals made during the election campaign and consultations already under way.
"We're looking for early wins in terms of the first phase of this," Brison told a conference on open government.
The promised changes include giving the information commissioner the power to order government records to be released and ensuring the access law applies to the offices of the prime minister, his cabinet members and administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts.
Act not updated in three decades
A Commons committee recently began a study of the Access to Information Act, which has not been substantially updated since it took effect almost 33 years ago.
In addition, the government began a public consultation on transparency on Tuesday. People can go to open.canada.ca to offer their views on what should be in the next federal strategy on open government.
Officials will also hold in-person discussions across the country and the resulting plan is to be released this summer.
Consultations on open government
Brison said a two-step process of access reform is needed. A initial bill "in the near term" will be followed by a deeper review in 2018, which is necessary to make sure "we get it right."
The minister told the conference he believes that an open government is a more effective government.
The Access to Information Act allows people who pay $5 to ask for everything from expense reports and audits to correspondence and briefing notes. Departments are supposed to answer within 30 days or provide good reasons why they need more time.
However, the access system has been widely criticized as slow, antiquated and riddled with loopholes that allow agencies to withhold information rather than disclose it.
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Just like the NDP folks in Alberta we got what we voted for--better spin masters. In the case of access to information the new hires in Alberta and Ottawa are providing even less access to information than we had with the PCs in Alberta or the Harper crew. It's troubling and what is required is for a whole pile of us to yap endlessly to the MLAs in Alberta and the MPs in Ottawa about these broken promises for increased transparency. Without information we are screwed and maybe already screwed because who do we vote for next?

John Ivison: The Liberals’ new legislation is consistent with the realization that if they don’t know what you’re…
NATIONALPOST.COM




http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/john-ivison-failed-access-to-information-reforms-the-latest-in-a-string-of-broken-liberal-promises/wcm/a15bda7e-2641-405d-a6bb-e9ac49dfe947?


John Ivison: Failed Access to Information reforms the latest in a string of broken Liberal promises

John Ivison: The Liberals’ new legislation is consistent with the realization that if they don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t know what you’re doing wrong

John Ivison
June 20, 2017
6:06 PM EDT
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Governments that came to power used to be able to burn their old speeches.
Sadly for incoming prime ministers in the digital age, the rash promises they made to get elected are archived, just a click away.
The Liberals pledged to restore trust in our democracy by being open with information as a default. The Access to Information Act would be updated to meet this standard, their election platform said, including an expansion of coverage to ministerial offices and the Prime Minister’s Office.
But the revised act revealed by Treasury Board president Scott Brison late Monday fell well short of those Olympian standards of transparency.
Instead of being open to ATI requests, in future those offices will proactively disclose travel and hospitality expenses, Question Period binders and ministerial briefing notes.
Treasury Board President Scott Brison is accompanied by the Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould as they make an announcement on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, June 19, 2017, regarding Access to Information. Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS
The press conference that followed was comedy gold.
“You broke your campaign promise right here. All you’ve done is codify proactive disclosure for a certain set of documents in ministers’ offices. Why did you break that campaign promise?” asked one disgruntled reporter.
Brison maintained the government is “fulfilling our commitment to our mandate commitments.”
“We are extending the Access to Information Act to ministers’ offices and the Prime Minister’s Office for the first time ever through proactive disclosure … (it) is absolutely consistent with open-by-default. Canadians should not have to go through a request-based system to get information that can be proactively disclosed,” he said.
In fact, the Liberals’ new legislation is consistent with nothing more than the realization by all parties in all ages that if they don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t know what you’re doing wrong.
As one reporter pointed out, under the new legislation citizens won’t even be able to request information on what went on behind the scenes to arrive at the decision not to include PMO or ministers’ offices from access requests.
The government claims it is breaking new ground by making some positive changes — giving the Information Commissioner the power to order government information be released, for example — but most of the reforms will work contrary to the pledge of open and transparent government.
Take the proactive disclosure commitment. The information that will emerge from briefing notes or Question Period binders is sure to be as sanitized, and therefore useless, as the average sterile government press release.
The real problem is the way the system is administered by the bureaucracy, which is zealous in its protection of the public’s right to be ignorant.
The act offers so many exemptions public servants are spoiled for choice in picking a reason to deny the release of information.
Release can be blocked if the information sought was obtained in confidence; if its release might impair federal-provincial relations; if it might impact international affairs or defence; if it interferes with law enforcement; if it might lead to the commission of an offence; it it relates to an investigation or audit; if it threatens the safety of an individual; if it provides personal information; etc. etc.
The exemptions are used as effective cover for the real reason: that release of information might embarrass the government.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to supporters at the Laurier Club Summer Reception, an annual Liberal donor appreciation event, in Ottawa on Monday, June 19, 2017. Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS
Brison said increased training across government to get “common and uniform application and interpretation” of the rules will help. But the bureaucracy takes its cues from the top and the Treasury Board president is clearly saying, “Steady as she goes”.
Not only do the new amendments not remove the exemption on advice to ministers, the government adds even more roadblocks. One amendment says information should not be dislosed, if the request is judged to be “vexatious or made in bad faith.
The newly expanded exemptions will mean more redacted answers, similar to the one received by my colleague Marie-Danielle Smith earlier this month in response to her request for the briefing notes of former global affairs minister Stéphane Dion.
She was told “some” of the information she asked for had been exempted under the section covered by international affairs — followed by two pages on which every word was blacked out.
It’s a farce, and Brison has been around long enough to know the changes he’s just unveiled will not make the slightest difference to helping citizens understand the government for which they pay so richly.
In her recent annual review, information commissioner Suzanne Legault said there is a “shadow of disinterest on behalf of the government” in transparency and accountability.
The public is not disinterested — in 2015-16 the number of requests filed rose to 75,400, up 81 per cent from five years earlier.
But Legault’s conclusion was blunt: “The Act is being used as a shield against transparency and is failing to meet its policy objective to foster accountability and trust in our government.”
Add this to the growing list of broken Liberal promises.
National Post
• Email: jivison@nationalpost.com | Twitter: IvisonJ





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Comments
Julie Ali What is most important is that you keep your promises Mr. Trudeau instead of doing these fake surveys to plan your next media blitz. Information is important and we should have access to it. I don't think your government is any different than the one of Mr. Harper except for a better looking Prime Minister.

Reply2 mins
Arne Zabell It would really help the "movement" if the leader Justin Trudeau would stop telling lies, and our environment minister Catherine McKenna would actually do something towards the environment? How about any Minister does anything except follow Stephen Harper's policies? #wecandobetter

Love
Reply
June 16 at 5:18pm
David Tucker Kelvin Lee Friesen ...if you are going to continue with your negativity can you at least back up your blanket statements with some data as Em Hess has noted?

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3
June 17 at 6:16am
Kelvin Lee Friesen Watch the Parliament on TV. Read all liberal, conservative and NDP pages. Then you will see the pros and cons of each. 
You will also see JT is trying to become a dictator.

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June 17 at 9:33am
Michele Dupuis No he isn't Kelvin. He's always been very respectful towards everyone, that is not the character of a dictator. All I see him doing is honoring our Canadian values, and our vision for Canada. And that vision has always been inclusiveness. Don't worry, most of us stay on top of what changes are occurring, and the only negative change that I see, is the new alt-right Conservative party. The PC party was always respectful of Canada and the Canadian vision. They were a lot more intelligently reasonable, then this current alt-right conservative party. Would you call your parents a dictator if they were to remind you that you have no right to assault anyone physically or verbally?

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June 17 at 12:07pmEdited
Sylvie Lafreniere Michele Dupuis 
Well said!!!

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June 17 at 12:06pm
Michele Dupuis Thank you Sylvie.

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June 17 at 12:07pm
Kelvin Lee Friesen Right. Alot of people said the samething about Hitler before the war.
Kirk Stephanson Done too much already for the "environment " focus more on reduction of horrendous debt and overpaid government employees who don't do much. God bless JT
Roz Avanthay Kelvin Lee Friesen He did what he said he would do with it ... were you not listening during the campaign?
Julie Ali Em Hess Arne is actually not a troll. But maybe you are.

Reply2 mins
Julie Ali Roz Avanthay How about this matter: http://nationalpost.com/.../a15bda7e-2641-405d-a6bb...? The Liberals pledged to restore trust in our democracy by being open with information as a default. The Access to Information Act would be updated to meet this standard, their election platform said, including an expansion of coverage to ministerial offices and the Prime Minister’s Office.

But the revised act revealed by Treasury Board president Scott Brison late Monday fell well short of those Olympian standards of transparency.

Instead of being open to ATI requests, in future those offices will proactively disclose travel and hospitality expenses, Question Period binders and ministerial briefing notes.

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