CAJ Code of Silence introduces the Astounding Harper Government Time Machine!

HALIFAX, June 6, 2015 /CNW/ - Its tattered remains slinked quietly into the annals of history as the latest federal omnibus budget bill passed through Parliament on the wings of a strong, stable, majority Conservative government.

With those Parliamentary votes, the Canadian Association of Journalists had its obvious recipient for the annual Code of Silence Award, which is handed out (sic) to the government or publicly funded agency that works the hardest to hide – or in this case destroy – public information.

The 2015-16 budget erased the last trace of the former federal gun registry, allowing the data to be destroyed. Data Canadian taxpayers paid for and, despite the political decision to stop running the program that created the data, let evaporate into the abyss.

Legislation has permanently silenced any value any Canadian would ever be able to get out of that data, forever. Or, as nominator Dean Beeby of CBC News put it – The Astounding Harper Government Time Machine (registered trademark pending, all rights reserved to the Canadian public).

"Alas, this Conservative science project did not arrive in time to erase Mike Duffy / Nigel Wright records," Beeby wrote in his nomination. "Nor was a Liberal version available to erase sponsorship scandal records.

"But at least going forward, the machine will be on hand to smother future scandals and cleanse Canada's past of embarrassing episodes of political misbehavious."

This is the 15th year the CAJ has presented a Code of Silence. Other worthy nominees included:

  • Privy Council Office – for its battle with Newspapers Canada's FOI auditors over how it would or could release data.
  • The City of Ottawa media relations office – for refusing to answer a question on how many times an ambulance had been called to a particular address.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 600 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

For further information: Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president - 613-330-8396 cell, hugo@caj.ca;www.caj.ca | www.facebook.com/CdnAssocJournalists | www.twitter.com/CAJ

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