Advice for the Information Commissioner: Do your job.

Longtime readers of this blog may be familiar with my ongoing battle with the Canadian International Development Agency over an access-to-information request I made in April 2007. I wanted to know about CIDA programs in Zimbabwe, but when CIDA claimed such a supposedly broad request would require thousands of dollars in “research fees,” I narrowed the request to one phase of one program – in other words, nothing too broad or onerous.  

Almost two years later, CIDA still hasn’t completed the request. Every few months or so, I check in with CIDA or the Office of the Information Commissioner, where I registered a formal complaint more than a year ago, mostly just to get my blood boiling, because nothing productive ever results. I did so again this week.

 The Access to Information Act gives the Commissioner the power to subpoena recipients of complaints to give oral evidence and produce records. I asked someone in the office of the new Commissioner, Robert Marleau, how many times Marleau has done this since his appointment in January 2007. The answer: zero. Not once. Apparently, he wants to use a “collaborative” rather than a confrontational approach.

How’s that working out for him? Not so good

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.