Harper should fix Canada's culture of secrecy: CAJ

OTTAWA, March 31, 2015 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists demands the federal government respond to a glaring gap in federal accountability successive governments have ignored for 30 years.

On March 31, Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault released a comprehensive report,Striking the Right Balance for Transparency–Recommendations to modernize the Access to Information Act, which offered 85 recommendations to parliamentarians that she says would fix Canada's right-to-know law. Legault lamented that, instead of protecting the public's right to know, the act has "become a shield against transparency and has encouraged a culture of delay."

Past commissioners, opposition parties and access advocates, including the CAJ, have all called for major reforms to the act — all to no avail.

"It's time for the government to stop acting in its own self-interest and instead act in the public interest," said CAJ vice-president Nick Taylor-Vaisey. "The kind of secrecy allowed under today's Access to Information Act is unacceptable in a modern democracy."

That's why the CAJ agrees with Legault's ongoing effort to modernize the act.

"Harper's government has an opportunity to meaningfully open its doors to the Canadians it serves," said Taylor-Vaisey. "If they pursue reform, the Tories will live up to a past election promise to improve access to information in Canada."

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 public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

 

SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

For further information: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ vice-president, 647.968.2393, nick@caj.ca; Sean Holman, Alberta/N.W.T. regional director, 403.397.4751, sean@caj.ca

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