Testing governments' commitment to transparency - Macleans.ca

Testing governments’ commitment to transparency


The Canadian Newspaper Association released its fourth annual Freedom of Information Audit. The report reveals what anyone who has tried to access information from Canadian governments and institutions already knows: just because you pay their salaries and fund their projects doesn’t mean many of them feel obligated to explain what they do. The Canadian International Development Agency wasn’t tested with access requests during the report’s research, which is probably just as well. The CNA likes to update these audits every year, and the last access request I made to CIDA, in April 2007, still hasn’t been fully answered.


Testing governments’ commitment to transparency

  1. “The CBC was the least transparent of the federal agencies tested.”

    No surprise there, really. The media is always a great champion when it comes to demanding access, except when it’s about themselves, than we get some bs about how they are different. Do as I say, not as I do isn’t really a great way to behave.

    • So, how would you generally, on principle, characterize an institution or body that makes a lot of fuss about transparency or accountability, but doesn’t carry through…?

      I know, the sub-text of my question is all too transparent, but let’s just play along.

      • I am happy to pile on the Cons and their woeful lack of transparency. In fact, I am quite happy to condemn all government bodies for not releasing enough info. Sunshine is the best disinfectant as far as I am concerned and pols, bureaucrats and other government employees have long behaved like cockroaches.

        I just thought it was funny how activist CBC employees can be when it comes to exposing others short comings but when it comes to their own institution it’s another story altogether.

        T Thwim

        The Feds give CBC more than $1 billion a year, I would think that’s enough to cover the cost of a few employees to respond to FOI requests.

        • So wait.. you now think the CBC is a bastion of fiscal prudence that has money sitting aside for an extra employee for something that has absolutely nothing to do with their core business?


    • No surprise there when you consider that the CBC has been bombarded with FOI requests. Most of which came from 2 people. In fact, they’ve received more FOI requests than another other federal department. Yet because they delay responding to some of these (gee, wonder why, after all, surely the gov’t is willing to give them endless resources to respond to such things, right?) they get a D grade in the report.

      • This is not about the @#!$ing CBC (although they should obviously be better).

        Journalists I know have had huge problems getting perfectly legitimate easy to access information from many different government institutions.

  2. So the CBC is “the worst” is it? Asked to provide a list of who’s who and how much money they make they stall and this makes them “the worst”. So Macleans, can I Please have a salary list from your organization. I need it, I really do. Put that together quick please and don’t charge me anything either. I need to know!

    On the flip side of “the worst” is the answer the media always gets after the whole passion ends that was punctuated with information requests and strong-armed ‘transparency’. As in the drama of the City of Vaughan. The Mayor there, facing accusations designed to unseat her, discloses, is cleared, and now she is going to “set the standard” she announced on TV. Vaughan municipality and city council will the “Best”. The “Standard Bearer” on all this.

    Like MapleLeaf foods, who has already begun to Set the Standard of Food Hygiene for all of Canada while they wait for a little help from Stephen Harper to finish off his audit of what happened there.