Dear Mr. Fardy:
Thank you for your e-mail.
I agree that transparency and accountability are essential to increasing citizen engagement and improving our democracy.
Liberals will launch the single largest effort of openness and transparency in Canadian history. A Liberal government will adopt a new approach to information, starting with a government-wide directive that the default position for all departments and agencies will be to release information to the public, both proactively and responsively, after privacy and other legal requirements are met.
- Post all Access to Information requests, responses, and response times online at accesstoinformation.gc.ca;
- Immediately restore the long-form census;
- Make as many government datasets as possible available to the public online free of charge at opendata.gc.ca in an open and searchable format, starting with Statistics Canada data, including data from the long-form census; and
- Make information on government grants, contributions and contracts available through a searchable, online database at accountablespending.gc.ca.
The Liberal Party has committed to following up on all of the Information Commissioner's recommendations to improve the Access to Information regime once in government.
We will also lead a democratic renewal with a wide-ranging, three-part plan designed to:
- Create an "Open Government";
- Work with all parties to fix our hyper-partisan Parliament; and
- Modernize our voting system with internet voting.
Under a Liberal government, new restrictions will be placed on prime ministerial power, particularly by placing procedural limitations on the prime minister's power to prorogue. In addition, under a Liberal government, all Canadians will be able to participate in People's Question Period, where the Prime Minister and Ministers will respond directly to unscripted, user-generated questions online. Ministers' participation in the weekly online question and answer session will be rotated and as Prime Minister, Michael Ignatieff would participate at least monthly in the online People's Question Period to answer citizens' questions unfiltered by political parties or the media.
Canada's democracy is in poor health right now. We had an all-time low in voter turnout in 2008, the Conservative government was the first in the history of any Commonwealth country to be found in contempt of Parliament and Stephen Harper has twice shut down Parliament when he faced tough opposition. But I believe with this plan and by engaging with all parties and Canadians, we can rebuild trust, respect and a meaningful connection between our democratic institutions and the people they serve.
The Nova Scotia Right to Know Coalition is appealing to all Nova Scotia Candidates to address government's responsibility to be open and accountable.
We members of the coalition are convinced that at least one of the major causes of low voter turnouts is because citizens don't feel engaged in the process.
NS Right to Know Coalition