Tuesday, May 06, 2008


The latest cow flap the Tories have stepped in, is the result of what happens when you are known to be less than truthful. If you have a reputation for saying things that don't represent any kind of reality, people tend to check everything you say for its veracity. So it is in the case of Professor Alasdair Roberts and the murder of CAIRS, by the government. This is an exchange between Iggy and Vic Toews in the House, yesterday:
Mr. Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has not explained why Canadians cannot see a registry that contains requests for information by citizens of government. There is no answer at all on that side, and its record on information is terrible.

Information complaints are at an all time high, numbers not seen since the last Conservative government. Departments are receiving failing grades from the information commissioner. Now the government wants to do away with a key database that provides information to Canadians.

Why is a government that ran on accountability running away from it?

Hon. Vic Toews (President of the Treasury Board, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we know all about the opposite party, when it was in government, wanting to control the access to information.

Here is what a leading expert on access to information law said about CAIRS in 2003. Alasdair Roberts said:

No other country maintains a government-wide database like CAIRS. CAIRS is the product of a political system in which centralized control is an obsession.

That is what the opposite party wished to do.
Zing. Vic sure put it to Izzy. It makes you almost forget that the Tories make the Liberals look positively chatty, when it comes to government information. Too bad this is just another example of this government's "up is down" philosophy. Too bad for them no one believes them anymore.

The consequence of no one believing them is pretty obvious. The press ran to talk to professor Roberts. It turns out that professor Roberts was in fact a critic of CAIRS. However, Professor Roberts wanted CAIRS improved, not killed and he sure doesn't seem to be pleased to be the poster boy for this government's campaign to hide information (since he has spent his whole career advocating for more transparent government information handling.

Now that this government has dug itself into a hole and Pierre Poilievre already has a file to spin, I wonder which lucky backbencher will be granted the honor of downplaying this latest untruth from the government, for the greater glory of our gracious lord, Stephen.
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