Sunday, September 23, 2007

Secrecy prevails

It's not often I like an editorial from the Toronto Star, but this one certainly qualifies as an exception. The editorial is a follow-up to yesterday's post on problems with Access to Information.
Great wall of secrecy

Openness should be the rule when official information is requested. Exceptions should be made, and information withheld, only in rare circumstances, such as when state secrets are legitimately at stake, or a person's right to privacy is threatened. That isn't happening now, as many bureaucrats insist on blocking the release of public records.

Existing access to information laws appear sufficient to protect the public's interest. What needs to change is the attitude of unco-operative officials. The data they collect belongs to all Canadians, not the agencies that strive to keep it hidden.
Windsor is no stranger to this "great wall" mentality. The only way to break down these walls is to continue to speak up. Write letters to the editor. Email or write your City Councillor, MPP or MP. Explain your concerns and demand action. File Freedom of Information Requests and if you are turned down, appeal the decision to the highest level possible. Each successful appeal helps improve access for others in the future.