Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tear down those walls...

Last week I posted a blog on a paper I found on the Information Commissioner's website - Open Meeting Law

Some further research shows some effort is being made at the Provincial level to deal with this issue. The first bill I found was Bill 123, Transparency in Public Matters Act, 2005/Loi de 2005 sur la transparence des questions d'intérêt public. Ms. Di Cocco (Sarnia-Lambton) - this was a Private Members Bill.

This bill made it through First and Second readings and the Committe Stage before it was withdrawn for some reason at the Third Reading stage, in April of 2006. You can view the Committee Submissions online.

The bill has been re-introduced as Bill 142, Transparency in Public Matters Act, 2006/Loi de 2006 sur la transparence des questions d'intérêt public. Mr. Craitor (Niagara Falls) - also introduced as a Private Member's Bill.

As far as I can tell, Mr. Craitor's bill is the third reading version of Bill 123, will all the amendments incorporated. I haven't had a chance to do an in-depth comparison of the bills as yet.

As this is yet another Private Member's bill, there is little to no chance it will pass unless the Government decides to adopt it or incorporate it's contents into the review of the Ontario Municipal act.

With the Provincial Election scheduled for October of next year, there probably isn't a better time to raise this issue with all parties to ensure it's inclusion in their respective platforms. Municipal Governments have the AMO to represent their interests at Queen's Park. Citizens must rely on individual efforts and supporting organizations like the London Free Press and the Ontario Press Council. I will be contacting Mr. Craitor to obtain information about his bill and whether or not it will be coming to the committe stage in the near future. As far as I'm concerned, this issue warrants a trip to Toronto to testify at the committe - even if it's only for the 10 minutes that individuals are allotted.