Freedom and accountability - Macleans.ca

Freedom and accountability

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David Eaves considers the implications of Richard Colvin’s accusations.

When the most senior ranks of the public service – those who pride themselves on their ability to speak truth to power and whose job it is to protect junior ranks from political interference – feel pressured to do the very opposite, it should send a chill down every Canadians spine. Worse still, we may never know the full truth of what contrary evidence was presented to politicians since, when confronted with countering facts, today’s public servants feel increasing pressure to “put down there pen” and stop writing.

In the end, transparency is a powerful tool, but we Canadians rely on a public service that speaks truth and engages in facts and evidence. If we have lost that, then we can never know, can never learn, can never hope for even the tiniest bit of accountability. In short, our challenges are even greater than the already terrifying allegations that we may be handing prisoners over for torture.

On this issue of access and accountability, Gil Shochat recently detailed, at some length, how far we currently are from freedom of information.