We recently received an Access to Information Packet that revealed the Prime Minister’s office refused to release the expenses of Justin Trudeau's best friend and Senior Advisor, Gerald Butts.
Now, we’re appealing the PMO decision to hide Butts' expenses with the office of the Information Commissioner and, in the meantime, also submitted an additional information request about policy changes that were made in order to justify concealing those expenses.
Previous Prime Ministers Chretien, Martin, and Harper all had to follow the rules and their respective staffers in the PMO were subject to the same public scrutiny on expenses.
On October 13th we wrote to the Privy Council Office seeking the following information:
"Provide copies of any documents outlining the changes to Access to Information procedures and policies regarding the decision to redact the names of exempt/political staffers from release, in contrast to past practice under previous governments."
Watch as I share their reply and delve further into why the Liberal government doesn’t appear to want to be transparent.
At almost the same time that we received this heavily redacted packet, Treasury Secretary Scott Brison was in committee attempting to defend Liberal legislation that was introduced in June regarding Access to Information Reform.
The proposed reforms have not only drawn the ire of the opposition parties in the House of Commons but also criticism from Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault, who described the proposed changes as taking the public's right to know "backwards.”
According to the Globe & Mail, Brison told the committee on October 18th:
“As we developed these reforms, we were guided by the principle that government information belongs to the people we serve. We remain committed to this principle.”
Unless, it seems, that information pertains to Justin Trudeau's staffer and best friend, Gerald Butts.