All posts tagged freedom of information

Yes, we can trust Ottawa again

Sean Bruyea

Holding government accountable has been granted a ray of hope. Democracy Watch may proceed with a private prosecution of Nigel Wright for the secretive payment of $90,000 to Senator Mike Duffy. This initiative has much wider implications for ensuring greater accountability of Ottawa’s oversight agencies which have been rendered largely ineffective by design and/or management. The end result could be a federal government which actually becomes more transparent and accountable.

Duff Connacher of Democracy Watch accuses the RCMP of “covering up” any justification the federal agency may have in failing to prosecute Wright. The RCMP is one of the penultimate agencies of accountability and oversight in Canada. How do we as Canadians safeguard democracy and the rule of law if these watchdogs fail to do their job?

Politicians have exhausted our trust that they seek good governance in Ottawa. Meanwhile MPs have been complicit or apathetic to the increasing ineffectiveness of offices created ostensibly to ensure accountable and transparent government.

Politicians and their parties come and go but the bureaucracy is the eternal rock beneath the immature antics of Parliament. In spite of increasing autocratic tendencies in our current government, MPs appear unwilling or unable to make public servants accountable, let alone make government transparent.… Read the rest

The Failure of the Throne Speech

Ian Bron and Allan Cutler

The following piece ran in the Hill Times on October 21, 2013.

We had hoped that that the Conservatives would commit to protecting Canadians values through the Throne Speech. We had watched and waited for improvements in existing laws already designed to protect these values. But we did not waste time in false hopes. There appeared to be something for everyone offered in the Throne Speech unless you are an advocate of truth, honesty and transparency in government. In fact, we did not witness anything that promotes openness and honesty in government. The following details some of the significant ‘lacks’.

1. A commitment to strengthen the Public Servants Disclosure Protection ActThe PSDPA came into force in early 2006, fulfilling a key Conservative promise. However, the seven years since have shown it to be wanting. The first commissioner, Christiane Ouimet, refused to seriously investigate any cases. Second, the PSDPA, and by extension the tribunal it created, is unlikely to protect any whistleblower, since the burden of proof to demonstrate reprisal is much too high. Whistleblowers also have no right of access to courts.

There are deep flaws including unwarranted secrecy and jurisdictional limits that allow public servants to avoid sanctions simply by resigning or finding a job outside of the public sector.… Read the rest

What the federal government thinks of access to information

Today I had a job posting forwarded to me by one of our directors, Michael Dagg. It’s an announcement of the appointment of David Todd as Director of Access to Information and Privacy at Human Resources Canada. There was no job posting, no competition, no advertising and no skill or experience required in access to information and privacy required. This smells on two fundamental levels. It makes a mockery of the staffing process, reinforcing the prevailing acceptance of nepotism in the public service. It also makes it clear that the government holds in very low esteem the fundamental right of citizens to access to information held by government.

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Notification of Appointment or Proposal of Appointment

Selection Process Number : 2012-CSD-INA-NHQ-13628

 

Appointment of: David Todd
Position Title: Director, ATIP
Classification: EX 1
Federal Organization: Department of Human Resources and Skills Development
Sub-Organization: Corporate Secretariat
Location: Quebec – Gatineau
Type of Appointment: Indeterminate Appointment


Date of Notification: 2012/05/23
Complaint Period Closing Date: 2012/06/07


Area of Selection: Persons employed in the Public Service of Canada occupying a position across Canada.

 

Non-Advertised Process

Selection Process Number: 2012-CSD-INA-NHQ-13628
Name(s) of Person(s) being considered: David Todd
Position Title: Director, ATIP
Classification: EX 01
Federal Organization: Department of Human Resources and Skills Development
Sub-Organization: Corporate Secretariat
Location: Quebec – Gatineau
Type of Appointment: Indeterminate Appointment
Appointment Duration: Indeterminate


Classification: EC 07
Federal Organization: Department of Human Resources and Skills Development
Sub-Organization: Strategic Policy and Research
Location: Quebec – Gatineau


Date of Notification: 2012/05/15
End Date of Waiting Period: 2012/05/22


Essential Qualifications: Education:Graduation with a Master’s degree from a recognized university in a field relevant to the position.
Read the rest