The Harper government has moved to change the access to information law, so that all records from the now-defunct long-gun registry are now exempt from such access requests.
The Canadian Press reports the changes were buried deep in the omnibus budget bill, and were made in a bid to clear RCMP officers of potential criminal charges, such as withholding or destroying gun registry documents.
Sean Holman, a former investigative journalist and B.C. government communications worker, says he’s horrified.
He says what the feds have done here is erase history, making what was illegal, legal: “trying to ensure that the public doesn’t know what’s going on. Trying to ensure that the public is kept in the dark, so they can essentially do whatever they want. It’s very anti-democratic.”
The Conservatives claim the move was to fix a bureaucratic loophole.
The leader of the federal NDP says this is typical from the Harper government.
Tom Mulcair says the Tories have never respected Canadians right to know.
“They are the most opaque government we have ever had in Canadian history. In fact if you go back to when they got elected they promised to have a whole new way of doing things. They brought in what they called the accountability act they were going to be an open transparent government. It has proved to be just the opposite. Orders have clearly been given across the civil service.”
Mulcair says when it comes to access to information and transparency the feds must lead by example.