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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