Aug. 29, 2020

Government went too far in redacting WE Charity documents

The House of Commons law clerk says public servants went too far in redacting the WE Charity documents released to MPs last week — and warns the cuts may have violated a production order from the finance committee to hand over all internal correspondence related to the summer student grants program.

Why is no aspect of government business carried on in an open, honest and straightforward way? As with the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the more the PMO operatives thrash about trying to limit damage, the less confident we feel in their assurances that all is well.

A democratic government cannot operate in secrecy. The WE charity contract is not a matter of national security that requires withholding vital details. It is discouraging when the PMO cannot even manage government graft due to ineptness.

Cabinet confidentiality is not absolute. When a government claims confidentiality of cabinet documents, someone requesting the release of documents can appeal to a court. A judge will review the requested material and decide if all or part thereof should be released in the public interest.

We expect our Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers to act ethically and honestly in all their dealings. They are our agents, our representatives and answer to the people who elected them. The notion that governance is too complicated for us to understand is an excellent reason to select different people at the first opportunity. 

See the EARLIER CBC report