Harper government touts record on openess
By Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press
The Harper government is dismissing a report that ranks it 55th in the world for upholding freedom of information, saying it has a sterling record for openness.
But a four-page document outlining the federal rebuttal took five months to release after a request under the Access to Information Act.
A human-rights group based in Halifax has issued three report cards since 2011 on Canada's anemic standing in the world with regard to so-called right-to-know legislation.
The Centre for Law and Democracy used a 61-point tool to measure Canada's legislation against that of other countries, in co-operation with Madrid-based Access Info Europe.
Canada's standing in September 2011 was 40th of 89 countries, fell to 51st in June last year, then to 55th of 93 countries last September, after Mongolia and Colombia.
"While standards around the world have advanced, Canada's access laws have stagnated and sometimes even regressed," the centre concluded.
Canada's information commissioner, Suzanne Legault, said "the analysis that this group has done is going to be a really useful tool."
But an internal memo last summer to Treasury Board President Tony Clement cites the report's "weaknesses," saying the methodology "does not allow for an accurate comparison of the openness of a society and of its government."
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