Monday, August 26, 2013

Canada's Action Plan on Open Government Consultation - my comment

Following is the comment that I just posted to Clement's consultation on the Action Plan on Open Government, currently queued for moderation.

Good progress has been made on the Action Plan. However, progress on the details does not begin to make up for overall increasing secrecy and lack of accountability by this government. For example, when the International Monetary Fund "devotes nine pages to the trials and travails of Page’s five years trying to shine a torchlight in the government’s murky budget process — and especially on the toxic responses he got from Harper’s ministers" (from our Prime Minister prorogues parliament when there are major questions relating to accountability that should be answered in Parliament, serious scholars like John Dupuis document The Canadian War on Science: a long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment, Canada engages in secretive trade treaty negotiations like FIPA and TPP, "Open Government" sounds like a phrase straight out of Orwell's 1984. Canada needs to step back and ask, not whether we are making progress on these details (good though this is in itself) - that is to say, not to ask "how much progress are we making towards open government", but rather "are we moving towards open government at all, or are we moving fast in the opposite direction, towards more secret and unaccountable government"? I am really sorry to have to write such a critical comment as I am sincere about the genuine progress made by Clement and those who really are working for open government and would much rather give them the applause that they deserve, but this is far too important and we need to focus on the big picture.

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