Harper government's promise to bring additional openness and transparency to Ottawa in the 2006 election campaign. At the time, the Conservatives blasted the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin governments' handling of the file.
"The Liberal government has consistently rejected attempts to provide Canadians with better access to government information. The present Information Commissioner has gone to court several times to force the government to open its windows," the Conservative platform said.
The hard truth, not more transparency and accountability, but LESS. The harpocrisy:
a comparison of the flow of information between the 2005-06 fiscal year, which was mostly under Liberal rule, and the 2006-07 fiscal year, which was fully under the Conservative regime, shows the system has been slowing down.
In 2005-06, the government's access-to-information officers cleared 77.5 per cent of all requests within 60 days. Under the Conservatives, that number dropped almost three points to 74.7 per cent.
The percentage of requests that were met with a full disclosure of information stood at 28.4 per cent in 2005-06. The following year, however, the government started using a greater number of exemptions to censor information. In 2006-07, only 23.1 per cent of requests resulted in the release of unexpurgated documents - a drop of more than five points.
The government is increasingly refusing to release some information by claiming that it would endanger Canada's "international affairs and defence." That exemption was invoked in 14.5 per cent of cases in 2006-07, up from 11.9 per cent two years ago, which explains difficulties in getting documents out of the Department of National Defence.
The federal statistics are in line with comments made by public servants who say there are growing delays in the approval of the release of information. In particular, officials said increasingly requests have to be vetted by the Privy Council Office, which is the bureaucratic department working for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Do as I say, not as I do.