Friday, April 28, 2006

So Much For "Openness"

The cornerstone of the Conservative election campaign was their commitment to restore integrity and accountability in Ottawa. Harper's entire spiel revolved around the amoral, corrupt Liberals and the need for tranparency in government. Is this what Canadians were promised:

Federal Information Commissioner John Reid is expected to issue a damning indictment of the Conservative government's new accountability legislation today, describing it as a recipe for secrecy that will only help to shield government from public scrutiny.

And the kicker:
During the recent election campaign, for instance, Harper promised a Conservative government would "require the prompt public disclosure of information revealed by whistleblowers ..." The pledge came in the wake of legislation passed earlier under the Liberals that said all documents related to a whistleblower's complaint could be kept secret for five years.

Instead, the Harper government is now proposing to give government the power to keep documents secret forever.

Reid notes in his report that if the provision had been law at the time of Adscam, the revelations of corruption and mismanagement likely never would have come to light.

It is simply amazing that the Tory plan would actually weaken the opportunity for disclosure. Instead of adding light to the process, Harper's plan adds another layer of secrecy. The opposition needs to jump all over this report because the whole election campaign was weaved from this simple premise of accountability.

The Liberals stern opposition now finds solid backing in the release of this report because they obviously lacked credibility on their own. Hopefully, Layton and Duceppe join with the Liberals to present a united front and expose this accountability shell game that Harper is playing.

4 comments:

Dana said...

Steve, Steve, Steve...you must learn to accept the central and incontrovertible truth of our new era.

Everything Stephen Harper and the Conservative govermnent do is more moral or ethical than any government we've ever had and, what's more, they do it all for our own good.

We don't need to be able know what they're doing because they're accountable. Access to Information legislation is now unnecessary. "Openness" is sooo 20th Century.

Furthermore, every time it might appear at first glance that Harper is doing the opposite of what he said he would do it's because we haven't made enough effort to understand him. Or we've read the wrong meaning into what he said. Or we didn't read the right source material.

Of course if the source material is older than, say, 9 months or thereabouts, it's probably irrelevant anyway since his thinking "evolves" so rapidly.

But I'll leave the task of correcting your thinking about Harper to the real pros. They should be along any time now. They're much better at it than I.

Not to mention loud, repetitive, mealy mouthed and ignorant.

Steve V said...

"anyway since his thinking "evolves" so rapidly."

dana

I believe the Conservatives do "evolve" rapidly, look at how far they have come in a mere 6000 years.

HearHere said...

Them's strong words from Mr. Reid, Former Liberal Cabinet Minister and Liberal political appointment to Info Commish whose job is slated to end in June, compliments of the new PM and the Conservatives.

Is he trying to be relevent or does he just have a personal axe to grind?

Motives? This guy has plenty.

Steve V said...

herehere

Yes, surely every criticism of Harper must be a partisan assault. I believe Reid also lambasted the Liberals when they were in power, but don't let that fact ruin your theory. It is pretty obvious that this Accountability Act shows no relationship to the openness promised the past election.