Public wants in on the secret

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It's not surprising the Stephen Harper government hasn't said anything about federal money helping the banks during the financial crisis of 2008-09. That's what secretive governments do - not talk about sensitive issues.

It will also surprise few that the Conservatives under Harper were named by the Canadian Association of Journalists on Saturday as the country's most secretive government, earning it the Code of Silence Award.

The Tories were noted for closely guarding information on such files as the F-35 program, along with other topics sought by the public, opposition and the media.

On the heels of this comes a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives that Canada's banks got help through the Bank of Canada during the recent recession to ensure they were able to provide credit to consumers. The money was repaid, yet people will recall the claim by Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty that Canada's banking system was ship-shape, in no need of help like the banks in other countries.

This is information the feds apparently didn't want the public to know and they also refused requests by the Centre for Policy Alternatives for details.

Thomas Mulcair, the newly nominated leader of the federal NDP, responded to the journalist association's assessment of Harpers' tight-lipped regime.

Mulcair said his party would keep fighting for greater transparency and, by extension, that means if one day they were to form government the NDP would be open - as the public and various watchdogs expect.

Funny, but the Conservatives before forming government were all about accountability too. Were they ever to be relegated back to opposition status, assuredly they too would again be champions of open government.

That raises the question of whether something changes upon taking power - or some political leaders just insist on being control freaks.

At any rate, it's something the public must remain aware of, and continue to demand that relevant information is accessible.

 

Organizations: Conservatives, Canadian Association of Journalists, NDP Canadian Centre Bank of Canada

Geographic location: Canada

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