Access-to-Information request on Rights and Democracy ignored

Let us assume, for the sake of the argument, that Canada’s Access to Information Act is a legally-enforceable piece of legislation that is relevant to how this government and bureaucracy comport themselves.

Here, then, is section 7:

“Where access to a record is requested under this Act, the head of the government institution to which the request is made shall, subject to sections 8, 9 and 11, within thirty days after the request is received,

“(a) give written notice to the person who made the request as to whether or not access to the record or a part thereof will be given; and

“(b) if access is to be given, give the person who made the request access to the record or part thereof.”

As readers of this space may recall, last November I filed an access-to-information request to the Privy Council Office asking for a copy of a performance evaluation report on the now deceased president of Rights and Democracy, Rémy Beauregard.

Ann Wesch, director of access to information and privacy at the Privy Council Office, responded: “A thorough search of the records under the control of the Privy Council Office was carried out on your behalf; however, no records relevant to your request were found.”

The alleged search could not have been that thorough. David Matas, a member of the Rights and Democracy board, later confirmed the existence of this report and its release to the PCO. When I pointed this out to Wesch, she suggested my original request might not have been “tasked out properly.” She promised to launch a new search and didn’t even charge me the $5 fee these things usually cost. Very sporting of her, I thought.

That was February 24. Keen observers of a calender will notice that more than 30 days have passed. I’ve received no response, written or otherwise from the PCO. In fact, I put calls in to Wesch’s office on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week and was promised they would be returned. They haven’t.