Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Access to information interference taking center stage today

The Interim Information Commissioner, Suzanne Legault, releases "her Special Report entitled Out of Time: Report Cards 2008-2009 and Systemic Issues Affecting Access to Information in Canada to Parliament" today. News conference at 11 a.m. for anyone interested.

There might be some questions about the status of her current investigations into three Harper ministers. As you will recall, one of the ministers is Minister of Natural Resources Christian Paradis for the blatant incident of interference with access to information that occurred under his watch in his former ministry, Public Works. She's not likely to provide details but she has been fairly candid, about as much as she can be, in discussing such investigations and the systemic problems with access to information. This is the commissioner who said this:
«Si j'en conclus que les allégations sérieuses sont fondées, je n'hésiterai pas à faire ce qu'il faut, et même à référer les dossiers au procureur général du Canada si ça s'avère nécessaire.»
Translation, she will not hesitate to do the right thing when allegations are founded, even making referrals to the Attorney General if necessary. That's her job, yes, but always nice to hear such vows in the Harper era of the marginalized independent officers of parliament. So she's worth watching today to see what she has to say.

But...occurring at the same time, the Ethics Committee's hearing on allegations into access to information interference, and the appearance by Harper's chief of staff, Guy Giorno. More about the allegations and his appearance here.

I would say the odds are greater than 50-50 that the issue does not go the government's way today.