On the first anniversary of Canada’s “no-fly” list, travellers are urged to tell their stories

In the face of growing surveillance of travellers, many Canadians are being caught in the web of government watch lists. Civil liberties groups and major labour unions are pooling their efforts to document how these measures are violating our privacy and mobility rights.

The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG – FIPA is a member) wants to hear stories from travellers describing their encounters with airlines, transport and border officials in Canada and the U.S. The website explains the goals of the project, and allows people to tell their stories. Individuals can also contact the project via a toll-free number or by mail. The ICLMG and its partners will not release or publish any personal information without prior consent.

Please visit: http://www.travelwatchlist.ca (English) or http://www.surveillancedesvoyageurs.ca (French)

BC’s public transit authority moves behind closed doors

The new board chair of TransLink, BC’s public transit authority, is coming under fire for deciding to move the provincial transit authority’s previously public board meetings behind closed doors.

Dale Parker says the media and the public will no longer be allowed into regular board meetings. He says the most effective process for developing strategic plans is without the public or media present.

Parker also says it is standard practice for crown corporations to carry out board meetings in private.

“It’s a matter of what can be the most effective process for developing strategic plans and then within it considering the major decisions that have to be made.”

However, Parker does say the public will be invited to address the board roughly four times a year. Parker is a former president of the Workers Compensation Board.

Media coverage

CBC News

CKNW(AM980)

Globe and Mail

Vancouver Sun

2007 Whistleblower award presented to former employee of BC Ministry of Water, Air and Land Protection

On December 11, the 2007 Whistleblower Award was presented in a ceremony at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus.

A crystal trophy was presented to Gord McAdams, an Ecologist formerly with the BC government, by the Campaign for Open Government and the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA).

The ceremony featured remarks by Maureen Bader of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Gwen Barlee of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Darrell Evans of FIPA, and MLA Shane Simpson, who recently introduced a private member’s bill called the “Whistleblowers Protection Act” in the BC Legislature.

Gord McAdams is a city councillor in Nelson, BC and a former employee of BC’s Ministry of Water, Air and Land Protection. Against the wishes of his employer and at great risk to himself, he brought key documentary evidence to the BC Supreme Court showing that the BC Government intended to violate the Park Act by relocating an entrance to Grohman Narrows Provincial Park.

A developer had requested the realignment of an access road and the Minister of Water, Air and Land Protection had approved it in spite of the fact that it would threaten the habitat of the park’s endangered turtle population. The Supreme Court ruled that the government could not ignore the Park Act to accommodate a developer.

For his courageous act, Gord was fired just hours before he was due to retire. As a result, he lost $25,000 in retirement benefits. The benefits were restored later when his union, the BCGEU, went to bat for him.

News coverage for the Vancouver Sun, the Province, and the Globe and Mail

Past winners, whistleblower and freedom of information awards

For more information on the Whistleblower Awards or the Campaign for Open Government, contact:

Matt Smith
604.255.1336
info@opengovernment.ca

Canada’s new do-not-call list process a farce: Michael Geist

The news over the summer that the CRTC was at long last moving forward with a national do-not-call list generated a sigh of relief from millions of Canadians fed up with intrusive, unwanted and inconvenient unsolicited telemarketing calls.

In the past few months, the do-not-call list details have begun to emerge with the CRTC addressing questions surrounding who will run the list, who will pay for it and who will investigate consumer complaints. While Canadians might expect most of those responsibilities to rest with the CRTC, the commission appears to have a far different vision– one that involves a near-complete outsourcing of responsibilities to Canada’s dominant telecommunications companies.

Full Toronto Star column