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Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011

Posted: 10/16/2005 11:35:49 AM

By: panamerica

For months, Justice John Gomery's commission of inquiry into the Adscam sponsorship scandal heard how government officials doctored contracts, shredded files and otherwise tried to obliterate evidence of the worst federal fiscal fiasco in decades.

At the same time in another hearing room, federal lawyers at the Maher Arar inquiry wasted no end of time and money fighting the release of government information already made public.

Just this past week, we learned the Indian Affairs department recently issued a consulting contract that specifically required that there be no paper trail left behind.

Read and destroy

Everywhere in government, even at the highest levels of the bureaucracy, important emails are routinely tagged with the code letters "RAD" -- read and destroy.

As federal Information Commissioner John Reid has been warning for years, a creeping culture of secrecy in the federal ranks is subverting Canada's access-to-information laws, and threatening the foundations of open government.

The attack of the paper-shredders in the sponsorship scandal is certain to feature large in Gomery's first Adscam report, due to be released in just over two weeks from now. More importantly, how to permanently pull the plug on the shredders will figure prominently in Gomery's second and final report, due this winter.

Remember that the lid was blown off Adscam in the first place by an access-to-information request for three sponsorship contracts worth $1.6 million to produce three reports that didn't exist.

It is also worth remembering that the feds refused to release that information for over two years.

Lucky for Gomery, the information commissioner has already written a powerful prescription to help cure what ails our access laws. Reid and his officials have not only produced recommendations to strengthen the existing rules, they have actually written all-new legislation.

"The purpose of the act is to make government institutions fully accountable to the public," Reid's proposed bill begins, "and to make records under the control of these institutions fully accessible to the public." Period.

Common sense

Most of Reid's suggested changes are common sense, and long overdue. He recommends that all Crown corporations, for instance, should fall under the access act.

No longer would Canada Post be its own fiefdom, free from prying eyes of taxpayers. Who knows? Maybe opening the books would do a big favour for the likes of Andre Ouellet, former Canada Post boss and longtime Liberal troughster, making them think twice about running up massive expense accounts that end up splashed across the pages of the Sun.

Even the billion-dollar CBC would be open to anyone with $5 to spend on an access request (we can hear the howling from here) --with exemptions to protect journalists' sources.

Reid also wants other federally-funded institutions opened, including all those "foundations" Paul Martin set up, which now administer an estimated $11 billion of public funds.

Most of all, Reid wants to eliminate the many excuses bureaucrats and their political masters use and abuse to deny public access to just about any information they want to hide.

Reid's new act calls for a simple test: "If the public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs in importance the need for secrecy ... there will be an obligation to disclose the record."

Would-be shredders

As for would-be shredders, forgers and fraudsters, the new legislation would make it an indictable offence to "destroy, mutilate or alter a record; falsify a record or make a false record; conceal a record; or direct propose, counsel or cause any person in any manner to do" any of the above.

There is a even a provision that would make it an offence not to generate proper records.

All that's missing, of course, is a Liberal government with the spine to pass Reid's bill into law.

But that's hardly a state secret.

Internal Administrator
Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011
Joined: 10/12/2010
Posts: 5780

Posted: 10/15/2005 2:24:14 PM

By: informer

Anyone out there have any information on adscam, the latest huge, Canadian political scandal?

Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011

Posted: 10/17/2005 3:17:44 PM

By: panamerica1


Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011

Posted: 10/17/2005 12:37:25 PM

By: informer

Can I email you privately....

Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011

Posted: 10/17/2005 10:48:20 AM

By: panamerica

You have many questions. Much in the way of answers will come as the Gomery Commission makes its findings known in the next while.

Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011

Posted: 10/16/2005 12:02:48 PM

By: informer

What you wrote is so interesting and eye-opening....I am very surprised. So, now, what happens to all of the guilty parties that committed these crimes, but were able to hide behind the veil of secrecy and silence. There have been enquiries for months, where grown men have cried on the witness stand. Others have either denied involvement or played dumb...can't rememeber, probably, seems to be a favorite word. Will there be any recourse against these thugs? Or will the new laws, that will undoubtedly be passed (perhaps not the the teeth that they should have, but it is a start!) apply to the ones who seem to be getting away? Does anyone care about their lifestyles now? Will there be indictments...or are all these abusers going to be able to keep their illgotten gains and live in foreign countries, without recourse....


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