March 28, 2017

Transparency? ATIP docs show Indigenous Affairs bureaucrats worry their emails may be… ATIP’ed

Andrew LawtonRebel Commentator

When Justin Trudeau was elected as prime minister, it was in part on a pledge to “make government information more accessible.”

Trudeau committed to reforming access to information legislation—essential for Canadians to access documents related to how we’re being governed and how our money is being spent.

It appears as though that memo hasn’t made it to the bureaucrats, however.

Indigenous Affairs bureaucrats are deliberately flouting ATIP requests by not putting information in email. We know this because they said it themselves—in emails.

In documents obtained exclusively by The Rebel on an investigation into the audit of the Nunavut Planning Commission, there were a number of examples of staffers citing ATIP laws as reasons not to do or say certain things.

One senior director wanted to have a “sense of any possible related sensitivities”, citing that the audit and related emails “can and may be ATIP’ed.”

That same director also expressed concern later on that “some of the findings could be fairly sensitive if made public.”

Another high-ranking official wanted to dilute the media lines so that no one in the press would know there was something to ATIP.

All of them seem to be missing the point that they work for the taxpayers. And the audit of Nunavut Planning Commission was about how taxpayer money was being spent.

And Access to Information might be an annoyance, but it’s an essential component of a democratic society.

Comments
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commented 2017-03-29 03:14:16 -0400
Good cover shot of The Boy Blunder… I wonder if he and John Travolta went to the same dance classes?…
commented 2017-03-28 19:38:22 -0400
He’s a transparent feminist
commented 2017-03-28 18:52:49 -0400
Indigenous Affairs, in all its various permutations, is the best example of the adage: “A bureaucracy works hardest at preserving the problem it was formed to solve.”
commented 2017-03-28 16:57:58 -0400
Like the phrase “I’m a feminist” the PM has repeatedly told Canadians he leads a transparent government. He doesn’t know the true definition of either, and his behaviour doesn’t back up his meaningless mantras.
commented 2017-03-28 16:03:56 -0400
I have often wondered how many secret conversations are conducted in the government (at any level) through encrypted documents stored on a common server.

Sure, email can be obtained through Access to Information requests, and encrypting government email would send up a red flag to anyone obtaining Access to Information documentation, but files encrypted on a government server are not necessarily available.

What better way to conduct a truly secret conversation.

Just musing …
commented 2017-03-28 15:34:05 -0400
You make can make enemies doing your job in a public sector or union shop. To some extent many are just trying to survive in government. There are as many signs about being denied service as how to get it at Service Ontario type places.
commented 2017-03-28 14:53:40 -0400
All of the public service got this advice when ATIPP was instituted. And I lived by it. Lots of people would not have hanged at Nuremburg if the Nazi regieme had not have been so document retentive.

When you work in a place where ATIPP is in force, compose every e-mail as if your worst enemy were on the bcc list…because they are.