Canada COMMENTARY: Liberals reveal their indifference to Canadians’ access to information rights
COMMENTARY: How the Liberals roasted themselves in B.C.’s snap election campaign
How did John Horgan parlay his fragile minority into a huge lead in the opinion polls? Andrew Wilkinson's stiff, uninspiring Liberal leadership is one reason, Mike Smyth says.There was good reason for the Liberals to feel down. Ex-premier Christy Clark actually "won" the 2017 election, as her Liberals captured 43 seats in the B.C. legislature, while Horgan's NDP took only 41.
It’s interesting how the Liberals have gone fromto deciding in 2020 that Canadians about transparency.
It’s also a convenient excuse for a government that has failed to live up to that initial promise, as though somehow it’s Canadians who are to blame.
The American political journalist Michael Kinsley once described a gaffe as an instance when “a politician tells the truth — some obvious truth he (or she) isn't supposed to say.” That would be an apt description of the dismissive remarks this past week from Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu concerning Canadians’ access to information rights.
Why Parliament could be on the brink of a snap election — again
"This is pure partisan politics," Liberal House leader Pablo Rodriguez said on Friday, referring to a Conservative motion that would have the House of Commons establish an "anti-corruption committee." It shouldn't surprise Rodriguez — an MP with more than a decade of experience in Ottawa — to find partisan politics going on around him. As gambling is to a casino, partisanship is to Parliament — it's the reason people are there. And as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently observed (speaking of his inclination to continue with byelections in Toronto), Canadians need to be know that their democratic institutions are durable and flexible enough to con
The Winnipeg Free Pressthat less than half of federal agencies and departments were fully processing freedom of information requests and that the vast majority of departments had opted against deeming those requests a critical service.
We already knew the system was not functioning as it should. In June, Information Commissioner Caroline Maynard warned thatdue to a lack of resources and that the Trudeau government was failing to provide those necessary resources.
Yet when she was asked about this Thursday in the House of Commons, Hajdu’s response was to wonder what all the fuss was about.
COMMENTARY: The Liberals are being disingenuous in their push to end WE Charity investigations
As much as it’s in the Liberals’ vested interest to have everyone to forget about and move on from this scandal, we don’t yet have all the answers here, Rob Breakenridge says.In trying to make sense of the prime minister’s decision to prorogue Parliament back in August, derailing the committee investigations into the WE Charity scandal always seemed like a plausible explanation.
“Not once has a Canadian asked me to put more resources into freedom-of-information officers,” she declared.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu: “Not once has a Canadian asked me to put more resources into freedom-of-information officers;” they instead want focus on health & economic supports.
(This is afterasked why FOI staff aren’t processing MP committee requests)
— Dylan Robertson (@withfilesfrom)
If Canadians don’t care about this issue, then why did the Liberals make it a priority in their 2015 campaign? If the Liberals feel that this is less of a priority because of the pandemic, then that tells us a lot about how they actually feel about access to information.
As Maynard herself put it back in June, “Openness and transparency in government has never been more important than it is during the pandemic. … Access delayed is access denied.”
Parliament headed for showdown, possible election, Wednesday over Conservative motion
OTTAWA — The Liberals face a high-stakes game of chicken Wednesday, as they stare down the opposition parties over a confidence motion that could force the country into an election as the second wave of a pandemic rages. The Conservatives fired the first shot Tuesday, moving ahead with their proposal to create a new committee designed to look into the WE Charity scandal, and other allegations of inappropriate lobbying and spending. It is set to The Conservatives fired the first shot Tuesday, moving ahead with their proposal to create a new committee designed to look into the WE Charity scandal, and other allegations of inappropriate lobbying and spending.
In fact,to remind Canadians about these very points and to respond directly to the health minister. Maynard said she was “very disappointed” in Hajdu’s comments and noted that she has “sounded the alarm” on the need for strong leadership in this area and the need for an increase in available resources.
Ironically, this all comes just a few weeks after Canada, which is meant to highlight “an individual’s right to access government information, while promoting freedom of information as essential to both democracy and good governance.”
Clearly, we have work to do in this country.
By Friday, the minister was furiously backpedalling on her initial remarks. Patty Hajdu herselfto concede that, yes, “openness and transparency are vital to our democracy” and that she would speak with the commissioner “to ensure we continue to respond to Canadians’ access to information requests.”
That’s much closer to the answer the minister should have given in the first place, but it still falls well short of an acknowledgement of the problem and a commitment to fixing it. In fairness, though, this shouldn’t all fall to the health minister. Where’s the prime minister?
This brawl in the Commons may end in a draw — but there will be others
That sound you hear emanating from Ottawa — a dull rumble of umbrage and purported principles — is the sound of your democracy at work. Maybe it's not the sound of your democracy working beautifully — NDP leader Jagmeet Singh used the word "farce" — but your democracy is still basically working. Minority parliaments such as the one we have now — where no one party has a majority of seats in the House of Commons — always seem very good in theory. In a minority situation (in theory), the government of the day can't run roughshod over the opposition, parties have to work together to find compromises and Parliament is in a much stronger position to hold t
It was Justin Trudeauthat he would “make information more accessible” and require that “transparency to be a fundamental principle across the federal government.” Instead, we got delay, inaction, and ultimately a worsening of the situation.
In early 2017, the previous information commissioner said the government uses the Access to Information Act “asand is failing to meet its policy objective to foster accountability and trust in our government.”
Later that year, when the Liberals finally did present new legislation intended on increasing transparency, the commissioner found that it. “If passed,” she said, the bill “would result in a regression of existing rights,”
That same year, an audit commissioned by the group News Media Canadafor its handling of access to information. The report found that the federal system was much slower and less responsive than its provincial and municipal counterparts and concluded that “the Liberal government has a long way to go if it is to deliver on its promises of transparent government.”
Unfortunately, that still appears to be true. Thanks to Hajdu’s comments, we now have a better understanding as to why that is.
is host of 'Afternoons with Rob Breakenridge' on and a commentator for Global News.
Committee bid to unearth Trudeaus' WE Charity speaking contracts fails when Bloc MP votes 'no' by mistake .
OTTAWA — After enduring nearly three weeks of Liberal filibustering, opposition MPs trying to acquire WE Charity speaking contracts involving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife were shut down Monday when a Bloc Québécois MP voted against the initiative — by mistake. It was supposed to be a straightforward vote at the federal ethics committee to force the release of all invoices for the speeches Trudeau and his wife delivered to WE Charity in the past decade. Opposition MPs want to verify how much money WE Charity and its affiliates have paid the Trudeau family in the years leading up to the now-defunct $543.