13 June 2012

The Secrets Policeman’s Bollocks #nlpoli

CBC demolished the false claims a couple of Conservative cabinet ministers made in order to justify their efforts to destroy the public’s access to government information.

bill29Justice minister Felix Collins claimed that they had to cut down the number of information requests, which he said numbered in the thousands each year.  Service NL minister Paul Davis said in the House of Assembly: “"You know, they make countless and countless requests for information…”.

Bollocks, notes the Ceeb:

For the 2010-2011 year, there were 581 requests to all public bodies, which together number about 500.

That works out to an average of 11 requests each week for the entire province.

For the preceding year, there were 579 requests.

They got the information from the annual reports filed by the provincial access to information and privacy commissioner.

In another CBC story, the municipal affairs department refused to release a report in response to an access to information request.  Fairity O’Brien’s department claimed – as the Ceeb put it – that “the whole document falls under an exemption of the province’s access to information laws covering policy advice or recommendations.”

The department went a month beyond the deadline for replying to the request and failed to give a detailed reason for the refusal, contrary to a decision from the Supreme Court in another access case.

But that’s not all.  Turns out that huge chunks of the report are already online, courtesy of a study done for the metro St. John’s public transit system.

-srbp-

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