January 19th, 2015

NDP REALITY CHECK: A History of Failure: Liberals and Conservatives on the Access to Information Act

The Conservatives are kicking off 2015 by continuing one of the Liberal Party’s great traditions: promising a more open government, but instead governing in the same old secretive style, breaking all their promises to fix the Access to Information Act.

Let’s review the lessons they can learn from the Liberals.

“I think [the Access to Information Act] is at odds with public expectation... I think it’s now out of date. I think it’s very much in need of an overhaul.” - Liberal Justice Minister Allan Rock, July 11, 1994

But after 10 years of Liberal promises, studies, and more promises…

“…nothing has happened with respect to a badly needed overhaul of the Access to Information Act.”
  • Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun, October 4, 2005

Then the Conservatives rode into Ottawa with promises of change:

“The time for accountability has arrived.” - Stephen Harper, Conservative Party Platform, 2006 “…a Conservative government will implement the Information Commissioner’s recommendations for reform of the Access to Information Act.” - Conservative Party Platform, 2006

How is that going, eight years later?

"…I think it is appropriate to (review the act)…I think we've run out of time to do it in a way that's meaningful before the election." - Tony Clement, Toronto Star, December 26, 2014

“It’s now been 20 years of promises from Liberals and Conservatives without a single significant reform to the Access to Information Act.” said NDP MP Charlie Angus. “This year Tom Mulcair is offering Canadians something different: the chance to vote for more open, accountable government - and actually get it.”