Monday, April 25, 2011

AG's Report Must be Released - "Suppression of Information" Relating to the Public Interest Unjustified By Law or Convention

The Auditor General's Report on the G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund should be released to the public according to a former clerk of the Public Accounts Committee, writing in The Hill Times.

The law does not specifically say that such a report cannot be released when Parliament is not in session.In fact, there are a few conventions in place which would actually support releasing the report, according to the article.

The article reads:

The first edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, at p. 376, states, "During the period when Parliament is dissolved, however, ministers or government departments may authorize the release of any return, report or other paper required to be laid before the House."

To any reasonable person, the necessity of releasing this report prior to the election is obvious.

There is also a resolution adopted in Parliament in 1887, which reads, in part, "That the practice now in force, requiring the withholding of Blue Books and Departmental Reports till the assembling of Parliament, results in the suppression, often for periods of many months, of information relating to public affairs which the public interests require should be promptly made public. That the Blue Books and Departmental Reports for each fiscal or calendar year should in future be made public as soon as practicable after the same are prepared, and that no unnecessary delay should be permitted to interfere with the issuing of the same."

By failing to release this report in a timely fashion, in order that the people of Canada have all available pertinent facts at their disposal before the election, Auditor General Sheila Fraser is doing a disservice to the country and is probably incorrect in judgment, according to the facts as presented in this article.

No comments: