RCMP launches investigation into Tory aide who blocked ATI request

Meanwhile, Ottawa debates hiking fees for access to information


As the federal government considers hiking user fees to access government information in order to “control demand,” the RCMP has begun an investigation into accusations of political interference by a Conservative staffer in an access-to-information (ATI) request. Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose has asked that the RCMP investigate the actions of Sebastien Togneri, a Tory political aide who reportedly demanded that Public Works officials “unrelease” a requested document that was to be sent to The Canadian Press. Ambrose directed the RCMP to look into Togneri’s actions after Canada’s information commissioner concluded a year-long investigation showing the aide had interfered in the request without the proper authorization.

At the same time, the federal government is debating on whether to increase user fees for information requests as part of its reforms to the ATI fee system, which the Treasury Board called “outdated and does not reflect new technologies and formats.” Currently, requestors pay a flat fee of $5 for an information request, which the adds up to less than one per cent of the $47-million cost of the more than 35,000 requests made between 2009-2010.

CTV News

Winnipeg Free Press

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RCMP launches investigation into Tory aide who blocked ATI request

  1. Wait a minute. With new technologies, it costs on average over a thousand dollars per request? That's insane.

    Maybe it wouldn't cost so much if they didn't fight so hard to deny the requests.

    • I'm thinking they give paper copies via snail mail and redact them manually? Must be labour intensive?

      (these are just stabs in the dark…)

  2. Assange would do it for less!

    • Assange would sell his arse for a pound of butter.

  3. New technologies are very expensive. Cost of a request should be minimun a hundred bucks.

    • It could be done as a flat fee a la LexisNexus, at most a couple of hundred bucks per year since it's a public service.

    • Yeah. Just because they already have the new technologies in place, doesn't mean we shouldn't pay for them again. and again and again.

  4. Requests should be free. They've done it elsewhere and it works. If our government wouldn't work so hard to keep everything secret, it wouldn't be so expensive, but we should also keep in mind that many of the alleged costs are for civil servants we would be paying in some capacity anyway.

    This has to be another kick in the head for the Conservatives though. They've been trying to make this go away for months, and now they have little choice but to call an RCMP investigation as an election looms. If they wouldn't have stonewalled for so long this would be over by now.

  5. If we had the "transparent and accountable" government that Harper promised, there would be fewer requests for information. As for the fee increase, it's typical of Harper to punish anyone who dares challenge his actions and besides somebody has to make up for the $534,000 paid for the former Integrity Commissioner's bail-out.

    As for the RCMP investigation, apparently loyalty is a one-way street. This CPC member is being thrown under the bus so that the Conservatives can claim that they can't answer questions while the case is being investigated,

  6. I think that a slight increase for ATi is warranted and on this same vein, I am a CBC supporter but I am very disappointed in their refusal for requests for information about their activities. What are they hiding?

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