Canadian government: This reporter’s question “undeserving of response”

Media relations officials and diplomats discuss how to release as little information as possible about the Canadian government's relationship with ALEC.

Media relations officials and diplomats discuss how to release as little information as possible about the Canadian government’s relationship with ALEC.

Getting access to records about government decisions and policies has long played a key role in the work of many journalists around the world. It will also be a key element for me in the weeks, months and years to come.

So to end off 2014, here are a few examples of some of my recent experiences with government efforts to either release or hide information.

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Stephen Harper’s government changes topic after NDP asks about climate rules

Environment Canada estimates carbon pollution from the oilsands increased 307 per cent between 1990 and 2012.

Environment Canada estimates carbon pollution from the oilsands increased 307 per cent between 1990 and 2012. It also estimates a further 61 per cent increase in emissions by 2020.

You may have seen this report in the Toronto Star about a mysterious end to a secretive group that was created to draft new rules to reduce carbon pollution from oil and gas companies.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq was asked about the long-delayed rules for oil companies on Tuesday in the House of Commons by NDP environment critic Megan Leslie.

Aglukkaq responded by changing the topic. Continue reading

Canadian watchdog “bewildered” after Tony Abbott budget targets counterpart

The federal information commissioner has warned of significant deterioration in access to information in Canada.

The federal information commissioner has warned of significant deterioration in access to information in Canada.

GATINEAU-The looming elimination of Australia’s watchdog for government information and transparency has sparked some surprise and possibly anxiety within the office of its Canadian counterpart.

Federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault told her office’s employees at a special strategy meeting Wednesday that news of the demise of the Australian information commissioner’s office was a shock since it had been praised around the world for promoting openness and transparency.

“I’m bewildered by what happened in Australia,” said Legault, the federal watchdog in Canada who monitors whether the government is respecting its legal obligations to grant the public access to its records and information. “Obviously, I don’t know the circumstances of what happened there. I’m very surprised.”

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Muzzling allegations are “absolutely ridiculous” says Canadian environment minister

The words "climate change" are sometimes hard to find in the Harper government's published material.

The words “climate change” are sometimes hard to find in the Harper government’s published material.

 

OTTAWA-Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is describing fresh allegations of muzzling as “absolutely ridiculous.”

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq rejected criticism from opposition New Democratic Party MP Megan Leslie who said the government “will stop at nothing to hide the consequences of climate change.”

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