FIPA urges all MPs to take up the torch for transparency of federal institutions

October 4, 2004 – FIPA has sent a letter to all federal MPs urging them to help build a “formidable constituency of support” for reforms to increase government transparency.

The letter states, “When the tenure of Prime Minister Martin began, he declared his intention to improve the quality of Canada’s democracy, including the transparency of its federal institutions. Indeed, all party leaders have declared their support for these values. But previous attempts to increase transparency have fallen short. How can we be sure that this commitment bears fruit in the coming session?

“The answer must be found in building a formidable constituency of support for this reform among political leaders of all parties, and it is to encourage this that we send you this letter of appeal. We are seeking MPs who will take up the torch for government transparency and accountability in the coming session.”

The letter recommends action in five main areas:
1. Updating and reforming the Access to Information Act
2. Extending the ATI Act to crown corporations and other “quasi-governmental bodies” (at least 250 bodies have been created that are not covered by the act)
3. Extending the ATI Act to Officers of Parliament
4. Creating an Information Management Act, designed to regulate the entire life-cycle of government-held information
5. Providing adequate funding for the office of the Information Commissioner

COMPLETE LETTER

VANCOUVER SUN ARTICLE by Stanley Tromp, FIPA Research Director and FOI Caucus Coordinator, Canadian Association of Journalists