Statement made on 25 March 2009 by Senator Francis Fox (retired)
Hon. Francis Fox:
Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, who was a senior consultant to the Prime Minister in the 2006 election campaign that promised openness and transparency in government and resulting changes to the Access to Information Act.
Following the extraordinarily disappointing results outlined in the report card published by the Information Commissioner last month, I was somewhat shocked to read the comments of the minister responsible for the legislation, the Honourable Vic Toews, to The Globe and Mail yesterday. I would like to share these comments with the Leader of the Government in the Senate:
Question: Are you going to submit some kind of reform of the Access to Information in terms of one that was promised in the 2006 campaign?
Hon. Vic Toews: Right now I don't have anything on my desk.
Question: Is that a yes or a no?
Hon. Vic Toews: Well, I don't have anything on my desk so I can't really submit anything right now.
Question: So there is no proposal.
Hon. Vic Toews: I can't say that. All I can say there's nothing on my desk.
Question: Does that just mean you're a tidy person or . . . ?
In the absence of action by the minister responsible, can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us if the Prime Minister's Office will have the kindness to deliver a package to the minister's desk so that the government can fulfill its campaign promise in respect of the Access to Information Act?
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