The federal Conservatives' so-called Action Plan that they will submit to the Open Government Partnership meeting in Brasilia, Brazil on April 17-18 fails to increase public integrity and transparency in the federal government.
The plan says that the Conservatives believe they can "introduce measures that will further strengthen access to information, public ethics, and public participation" but no one should believe them because their plan fails to commit to any measures that will close the dozens of loopholes and correct the many flaws in the federal Access to Information Act, Conflict of Interest Act and MP and Senate ethics rules, Lobbying Act, Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, Financial Administration Act and Canada Elections Act.
Even if the Conservatives' take all of the steps set out in their Action Plan, secret unethical lobbying, conflicts of interest, secret donations, secret expenses, excessive secrecy overall and sole-source contracts will all continue to be legal, and enforcement of key democracy and good government laws, and whistleblower protection and public consultation processes, will all continue to be dangerously weak and ineffective.
Overall, the Conservatives' plan will only make some government information that is already available more easily available in electronic format. In other words, the Conservatives' plan is an open data plan, not an open government or government integrity plan.
And the Conservatives will likely break many of their commitments -- just like they broke more than half of the Federal Accountability Act promises they made during the 2006 federal election.
As all of the Conservatives' ethics, lobbying, spending and election scandals over the past year have shown clearly, a Real Accountability Act is still needed to clean up the federal government.
For more details, see here.
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