Canada has a wonderful piece of legislation called the Access to Information Act. Thanks to this Act, by filling out the Access to Information Request Form and paying $5, you can have access to internal government information (that is not marked confidential). This includes memos and letters, as well as emails. (Find out more information through this link: Access to Information – Policies and Publications.)
And why is this in place? From the “Policy on Access to Information“:
3.1 The Government of Canada recognizes the right of access by the public to information in records under the control of government institutions as an essential element of our system of democracy. The government is committed to openness and transparency by respecting both the spirit and requirements of the Access to Information Act, its Regulations and its related policy instruments.
So you’ll understand why the last line in this article is my absolute favourite so far today: “The story of CBC executive spending only came to light because the Harper government added the broadcaster to the roster of agencies subject to Access to Information rules.” Right on!
Here’s Broadcaster Magazine’s article regarding the overspending.
The minister for Canadian Heritage is warning CBC executives to rein in their expenses following reports of heavy spending on theatre tickets, meals and travel.
James Moore has written to the public broadcaster in response to a news story detailing lavish spending by Sylvain Lafrance, the executive vice-president for French services at the taxpayer-funded CBC.
“I am sure that you are sensitive to the fact that, at a time of fiscal restraint when Canadians are struggling to maintain their jobs and savings, this sort of reported excess does not sit well with them,” Moore wrote in a letter released Wednesday to the media.
Reports this week detailed how Lafrance signed off on almost $80,000 in 2006, including $28,000 on hotels, travel and meals, $15,000 in office catering and $33,000 in corporate expenses for benefit dinners and theatre tickets.
“As this unpopular measure was justified by the CBC as a fiscal restraint measure, the same could be expected by taxpayers with regards to CBC operating expenses,” Moore wrote in the letter to Timothy Casgrain, chairman of the CBC’s board of directors.
A CBC spokesman has said all the expenses were “fully compliant” with the broadcaster’s corporate policy.
The story of CBC executive spending only came to light because the Harper government added the broadcaster to the roster of agencies subject to Access to Information rules.
(Links updated November 2013)