Thursday, May 08, 2008

Freedom for our FOIA

While on leave from libraryland, I'm still keeping touch through the library blogosphere. And in doing so, I noticed that none of the Canadian library blogs that I follow had made mention that the Harper government recently told all federal agencies to stop providing monthly updates to the public of all the requests it is answering under the Access to Information Act.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is one of the few tools that ordinary citizens can use to keep their government accountable. In my hometown, a citizen recently took on our excessively secretive city council with a FOIA and now we know the details of an arena contract between the city of Windsor and the local OHL hockey franchise.

When I was in library school at McGill, I wrote a loving profile of Ken Rubin, another private citizen who uses FOIA much to the chagrin to those in power -- and I am glad to say that I am not the only one to do so. But I think librarians should do much more to support the cause. Here's a start: every library's government document's web presence should provide a link and instructions how to place a Freedom of Information Act.

And if the CAIRS database is not reinstated, then I wish and hope that a library out there will create a Canadian version of WhatDoTheyKnow.

1 comment:

Mita said...
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