The federal Conservatives have quietly killed a giant information registry that was used by lawyers, academics, journalists and ordinary citizens to hold government accountable.The culture of paranoia and secrecy is clearly emblematic of the Harper government. Such efforts as the one above, individually, may not resonate with Canadians and I'm sure they count on that. But there definitely should be an effort to tell the larger tale of Conservative government secrecy, stifling and muzzling.
The registry, created in 1989, is an electronic list of every request filed to all federal departments and agencies under the Access to Information Act.
Known as CAIRS, for Co-ordination of Access to Information Requests System, the database allowed ordinary citizens to identify millions of pages of once-secret documents that became public through individual freedom-of-information requests over many years.
But in a notice last week to civil servants on the Treasury Board website, officials posted an innocuous obituary: effective April 1, 2008, "the requirement to update CAIRS is no longer in effect." (emphasis added)
What do these people have to be so afraid of?
I'm glad that they've ticked off the Auditor General. I'm thinking that office has been stirred up...