• Saskatchewan’s municipal police aren’t subject to the province’s freedom of information legislation. And the government hasn’t yet committed to do anything about it.
In a series for the Leader-Post, Mark Melnychuk quotes top cops in that province providing a range of excuses as to why the public doesn’t have a right to their records.
For example, according to Regina Police Services Chief Troy Hagen says, “There are a host of questions that I suppose that someone may ask that really would compromise, to a large extent, the integrity of the police service, and the operations and most importantly the independence of the police service.”
But, when asked about bringing police forces under the province’s freedom of information legislation, Minister of Justice Gordon Wyant said, “We’re going to have to give it some very serious consideration.”
• Canadians now have less access to information about wrongdoing in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Postmedia News reports that the “RCMP’s top brass are requiring disciplinary decisions related to misbehaving Mounties be vetted first for certain sensitive materials before they can be released to the media, even though these reports were typically released unredacted for years.”
Evidently, “the office of the federal privacy commissioner was OK with these changes.” But “the office of the access-to-information commissioner took a ‘contrary position,’” according to a briefing note obtained by Postmedia.
• Passing Tory backbencher Michael Chong’s Reform Act isn’t the way to improve democracy in this country. Samara Canada has posted a roundup of 50 other proposals, which includes redesigning the House of Commons’s seating plan and creating Constituency Parliaments — a “citizen-engaging deliberative body to advise and direct individual MPs.”
• The Canadian University Press, the country’s oldest student newspaper organization is in crisis, according the Calgary Herald. But, in an interview with the paper’s Trevor Howell, I pointed out the opportunities for campus media have never been greater because major news outlets no longer have the resources to cover many major stories: “I would love to see a much more aggressive student press, not just focused around student issues but issues that are of concern to that particular demographic.”
Have a news tip about about the state of democracy, openness and accountability in Canada? You can email me at this address.