In Alberta a stunning slowdown in access to information

In Alberta a stunning slowdown in access to information by Charles Rusnell, September 22, 2007, The Edmonton Journal
Early in his tenure, Premier Ed Stelmach repeatedly promised one of his new government’s main priorities was to be more open and transparent than the regime of Ralph Klein. But frequent users of Alberta’s freedom of information legislation say Stelmach’s promise doesn’t seem to apply to requests that are potentially embarrassing to the government. Increasingly, they say, the Freedom of Information Act is being used to delay and deny access to public information. “What we have noticed is a stunning slowdown in the release of information,” said Jason Foster, director of policy analysis for the Alberta Federation of Labour. “They are being much less co-operative. We have become incredibly frustrated — and not just with the delays of government departments but also with the delays of the office of the freedom of information commissioner.” … “Mr. Stelmach promised more openness and transparency, but if anything the curtain has been drawn tighter and it is a lot darker,” said MacDonald, who frequently makes FOI requests. “Any information that may embarrass the government, they don’t want the public to know.”

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