Monday, October 29, 2007

Daily Digest October 29, 2007

The DAILY DIGEST: INFORMATION and OPINION from ST. JOHN'S to VICTORIA.

EDITORIALs

CHARLOTTETOWN GUARDIAN - A reasonable protection
for brave soldiers print this article
Reservists who risk their lives should not have
to worry about whether their jobs at home might also be on the line.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/index.cfm?sid=75389&sc=103

HALIFAX NEWS - Dion's weakness floats Harper's boat
http://www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=75336&sc=90

HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD - China's bullying
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Editorial/975185.html

MONTREAL GAZETTE - The U.S. should apologize to Arar
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=8d620d04-8699-43af-8268-d80ebc09a77b

Ottawa must protect consumers

http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=e9d2e9f5-668e-4e0e-9c56-f4651c1fb0ce

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Mixing together
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/editorials/story.html?id=eb5421b8-f5b3-4a77-9f29-57cb4b071174

Paying what is owed

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/editorials/story.html?id=e6ba5b27-1b9a-45ed-988f-00a6cde6d7e4

TORONTO STAR - Clip the loonie's wings
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/270981

NATIONAL POST - The Facebook phenomenon
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/editorialsletters/story.html?id=5ef198e6-ce00-42a9-b6e9-5a3a0dcba05d

TORONTO SUN -
http://www.torsun.canoe.ca

HAMILTON SPECTATOR - Charity code needs teeth
http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/article/273549

LONDON FREE PRESS - Kyoto accord, rest in peace
http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/Opinion/Editorials/2007/10/29/4613673.html

K-W RECORD - Toronto contract points to trouble
http://www.therecord.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?GXHC_gx_session_id_=a900a9c3fe3516d2&pagename=record/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1193642143311&call_pageid=1024321927354&col=1024322198380

CHATHAM DAILY NEWS -

WINDSOR STAR - Safe products
Fed's action is overdue
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=a21334f9-4fe7-413b-a9b4-5fe56caab1fe

Senate referendum
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=eadb5af8-5b9c-4a2d-8b92-b05b27497435

SUDBURY STAR - Ethanol isn't the panacea for environment
http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=753553

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Waterloo for NATO
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/editorial/story/4066834p-4669322c.html

WINNIPEG SUN -
http://www.canoe.ca/WinnipegSun/editorial.html

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Gov't must act to bring back true competition
http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/forum/story.html?id=963a18c7-bb72-486e-89dc-27f89059e993

REGINA LEADER-POST -
http://www.canada.com/regina/leaderpost/editorials/

CALGARY HERALD -
http://www.canada.com/calgary/calgaryherald/editorials/

CALGARY SUN -
http://www.canoe.ca/CalgarySun/editorial.html

GRANDE PRAIRIE DAILY HERALD TRIBUNE -
http://www.dailyheraldtribune.com/1editorial.lasso

EDMONTON JOURNAL -
http://www.canada.com/edmonton/edmontonjournal/editorials/

EDMONTON SUN -
http://www.canoe.ca/EdmontonSun/editorial.html

LETHBRIDGE HERALD -
http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/cat_index_28.php

PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN - Taser moratorium
http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=101745&Itemid=592

VANCOUVER SUN -
http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun/editorials/

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Let's stop knocking the Tory plan to reduce the GST
http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/editorial/story.html?id=21598d94-11a4-48c9-8bd5-7b0d6bdc27f2

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - Hypocrisy clouds Tory secrecy
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=58137c59-b464-49ec-94e2-c63b8dec4b4b


ISSUES

CANADIAN FORCES
Hello Ottawa? Ici Kandahar Here Kandahar
I crossed half the world to come to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
My goal: to excavate the case of Canadian aid. .
Ottawa will invest 39 million this year in
Kandahar province.

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cyberpresse.ca%2Farticle%2F20071029%2FCPACTUALITES%2F710290491%2F5846%2FCPACTUALITES&langpair=fr%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools

It's you, Canadians, who are responsible for torture ..."
http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cyberpresse.ca%2Farticle%2F20071029%2FCPACTUALITES%2F710290489%2F5846%2FCPACTUALITES&langpair=fr%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools

Canada brushes off allegations of Afghan torture
http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2007-10-29T185507Z_01_N29491987_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-AFGHAN-CANADA-COL.XML&archived=False

DND projects overbudget, overdue
Taxpayers left in the dark as internal watchdog
sounds alarm on $7.3B in 'high-risk' contracts
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=c13e27fb-4488-4f8d-a1e4-ff0419fe8d2e

Area firms prepare for $1B DND tender
Navy frigate contract would bring jobs to defence sector
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=cae6e0c9-47d9-428d-8860-486161253414

Forces wage PR war in remote Afghan areas
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=65d2586d-266b-4fe9-a19c-c9687fae9a72

We don't need Canada's 'heroes,' Afghan MP tells Victoria rally
Material, moral support is welcome, she says, but
soldiers unwittingly back U.S., warlords
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=e1f66fde-2d9c-4f18-b1fa-f300cae5236b

Job in Afghanistan is far from done
Canadians have to decide if we have the will to stay in troubled country
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=f590891b-8af9-4c3a-b11f-420459c48504

Kandahar: why Canada's war is all but over
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Opinion/975184.html


ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Trusts seen enjoying tax shield for now
http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyID=2007-10-29T211652Z_01_N29633192_RTRIDST_0_CANADA-TRUSTS-COL.XML&archived=False

Canada's manufacturers feeling left on their own
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/071029/canada/canada_economy_manufacturing_col

Canada's military exports soar as numbers go unreported: CBC investigation
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/10/29/military-exports.html

Large grain shippers step into CN Rail complaint
http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyID=2007-10-29T213526Z_01_N29526338_RTRIDST_0_CANADA-CNRAIL-GRAIN-COL.XML&archived=False


FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Canada to press NATO to share burden
http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=ca/6-0&fp=4726f75aa7c10a60&ei=vFUmR7iKKZLgpQK9nNzfAg&url=http%3A//www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071029.MACKAY29/TPStory/National&cid=1122514463

An unpresidented EU
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=18e4a249-cea0-4784-a964-3d7a318f0447

Canada defies China with Dalai Lama meeting
http://www.politicswatch.com/dalai-lama-october29-2007.htm


HEALTH CARE RELATED
Months after a split are crucial for dad's relations with kids: study
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/10/29/stats-can-fathers.html

Tumour type not linked to smoking: study
Breast cancer patients who smoke no more likely
to have an aggressive form of disease than non-smokers, researchers find
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=2d770fad-7604-429b-988c-025d6093cbb5

Schools can't replace the home
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=d33fb159-f845-43d8-8ec1-7d78758aae75

Room for growth in health care
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=235ef6a8-1084-46cf-aa60-6e0874b3bb76


JUSTICE SYSTEM
Fundamental breach confuses
http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/Business/Columnists/Canton_David/2007/10/29/4613686-sun.html

Chretien's lawyers try to quash Gomery report
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=d43bf580-31f6-49a1-8d42-43c672da9d30

Hollow symbols don't reduce crime
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=7c001f45-be2e-40b9-a516-98986e0e91c5


MIGRATION
Immigrants' children face challenges, study finds
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20071029/statscan_kids_071029/20071029?hub=Canada

Reasonably accommodated
It should be a simple matter for Muslim
immigrants to settle in to Canadian society: You accommodate, and we adapt
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=61df7117-d0a2-43a8-9c98-8503bfdccf05

The false cure-all
From girlhood on, young South Asian women are
told that marriage is everything; it isn't necessarily so
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=d2c6f71d-65fb-46db-b247-f5f912801ead


POLITICS IN THE PROVINCES
Tories sending mixed election signals
Stelmach says they're ready; insider disagrees
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/story.html?id=546775a2-e483-4e00-9e0f-700971ce7b2b

Discomfort in the heartland
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/theeditorialpage/story.html?id=73e4a116-84cb-4820-996d-e4c890079794

Tories line up behind besieged rookie premier
Being under attack by both Big Oil and the NDP
may yet work out in Stelmach's favour
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/opinion/story.html?id=1a9b0a80-b281-4a3b-8974-e91698d8e844


POLITICS
B.C. Premier signs international treaty to fight climate change
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/071029/n102913A.html

Liberal MP quits due to spending allegations
http://www.canada.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=950fb44a-468c-4cd4-be69-14f95281dfc3

The Bloc proposed a motion against the federal spending power
http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cyberpresse.ca%2Farticle%2F20071029%2FCPACTUALITES%2F71029109%2F1025%2FCPACTUALITES&langpair=fr%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools

Confidence issue reveals PM as 'bully,' observer says
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=83382b7c-adc5-4827-8af6-6993f25d82d2

The relevance of the Manley panel -- the
five-member group of eminent Canadians charged
with recommending Canada's future course in
Afghanistan -- becomes cloudier with every
passing day

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=dcccefe5-a55c-420a-8be3-c07f687d6b23

Obsession with trivia blunts Liberal efforts in the House
Party is too busy scandal-mongering to deal with substantive issues
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=eb55ec5a-8bc0-4926-9a43-c4976c2065ed

Riding uproar over Tories' decision to oust executive
http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=7e3ff339-6f5b-439d-a78e-75695e059f45

Khan report blocked, despite Tory promise on secrecy
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071029.ACCESS29/TPStory/National

Dion caught in the middle on Quebec
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/271414


PROGRAMMES
Ottawa seeks to end Canada Post's foreign monopoly
http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyID=2007-10-29T212837Z_01_N29315744_RTRIDST_0_CANADA-POST-COL.XML&archived=False

Ottawa to unveil fiscal report, mum on tax cuts
http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyID=2007-10-29T212700Z_01_N29600774_RTRIDST_0_CANADA-BUDGET-COL.XML&archived=False

Will Flaherty wield tax axe?
http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071029.wflahertystaff1029/BNStory/Business/home

Anatomy of an Access To Information release: 'talking points' blacked out
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/071028/n102877A.html

Ottawa shoots down space tourism project rumours
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20071029/space_tourism_071029/20071029?hub=Canada

Flaherty ignores advice on black-market cigarettes
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20071029/flaherty_contraband_071029/20071029?hub=Canada

Flaherty should leave securities regulator issue alone
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=8c196438-3d08-4493-bc33-c41c0f7655a3


PRESSURE POINTS
Link between 'megafires' and climate change is credible
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=317aac41-c868-4367-8a35-1806f107892f


OPINION AND INFORMATION
No simple formula for retirement needs
http://www.canada.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=23b16d5c-8007-4a55-b7a8-970a1a6b4c65

Acclaimed skin-whitening studies from Ottawa raise racism concerns
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2007/10/29/ot-skin-whitening-071029.html

Wake up, Toronto – you're bigger than you think
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071026.wfloridatoronto2710/BNStory/National/home

Go ahead, just say yes to your government pusher
Canada's provinces promote the deadliest drug of all
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=43e1ed3f-ce2c-424c-b8e4-6aadbf917879

Modern China struggles to maintain ties to past
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=303f5a8e-575a-46ce-9339-32b2298cbf8d

Racism, with a Quebec spin
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=9aa3a66a-bdd6-41f5-9802-1f7603c5b6f2

The void behind the curtain
http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/viewpoints/story.html?id=1242c4e7-4aed-45fe-95e8-fa12c33ac945

PM's boast called empty rhetoric
Canada doesn't warrant Harper's `energy superpower' label, author of paper says
http://www.thestar.com/News/article/271456

"The Rich are Getting Richer--The Poor are Getting Poorer"
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/411

Tom Flanagan is full of crap
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/359

Conservatives slip in poll, still ahead
http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyID=2007-10-29T203722Z_01_N29527250_RTRIDST_0_CANADA-POLL-COL.XML

Governments stand by while nature vanishes
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/271372


INFOS
Un député en moins
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/2007/10/29/001-blair_wilson.shtml

Afghanistan - MacKay ne cherche pas à remplacer le général Hillier
http://www.ledevoir.com/2007/10/29/162344.html

En bref - Passeport Canada en retard
http://www.ledevoir.com/2007/10/29/162350.html

Le Bloc présente une motion contre le pouvoir fédéral de dépenser
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20071029/CPACTUALITES/71029109/1025/CPACTUALITES

Flaherty aurait négligé un rapport réclamant une lutte à la contrebande
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20071029/CPACTUALITES/71029011/1025/CPACTUALITES

Énergie nucléaire: le PC se fait discret
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20071028/CPACTUALITES/71028064/1025/CPACTUALITES

«C'est vous, Canadiens, qui êtes responsables de la torture...»
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20071029/CPACTUALITES/710290489/5846/CPACTUALITES

Allô Ottawa? Ici Kandahar
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20071029/CPACTUALITES/710290491/5846/CPACTUALITES


BELOW(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)


ACCOUNTABILITY THEN and NOW
THEN

In 1999, Jean Chrétien's government began
refusing access requests by saying that the
minister's office is not part of the department they head.

That interpretation was contested in court by
then-information commissioner John Reid, and
sharply criticized by the Conservatives and their
predecessor parties, the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives.

Mr. Harper promised in the last election campaign
to scrap it. The Conservative campaign platform
promised that the party's first task would be to
pass an "accountability act" that would
"implement" Mr. Reid's recommendations for reform.

NOW

Is in the article below.

Joe
«¤»¥«¤»«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»¥«¤»§«¤»

The Hill Times, October 29th, 2007
http://www.thehilltimes.ca/html/cover_index.php?display=story&full_path=/2007/october/29/letter10/&c=1

LETTERS
A lament for Progressive Conservatives: Marlatt

Progressive Conservative MP Bill Casey made the
difficult choice of accepting absorption of the
Tories by the CA, despite the classical liberal
laissez-faire capitalism borrowed from U.S.
Republicans when the CA was still called the
Reform Party and the CA's ongoing campaign to
replace parliamentary democracy and Canadian
federalism with American constitutionalism and
U.S. states-rights federalism. Eventually he made
the right choice, by voting against a budget
written by a party which continues to demonstrate
why it should not be trusted. Stephen Harper has
failed in his duty of loyalty to the Crown and
the people of Canada–as the Throne Speech
demonstrates so elegantly. Bill Casey is an
honourable man. Can the same be said of Defence
Minister Peter Mackay or Prime Minister Stephen Harper?

Mr. Harper's failure as a leader originates in
the same provincialism and corresponding
preference for an alien politics and social
intolerance that Preston Manning looked for in
members when he created the Reform Party in the
first place. Calling demagoguery "grassroots"
merely exposes the reasons why the CPC will come
to an end sooner rather than later and why the
CPC is such a danger to democracy. Harper's old
Reformers can't stand the Progressive
Conservatives who grudgingly went along with the
"merger" and have been quick to marginalize their
influence, making tokens of those who remain when
they cannot be co-opted–the Harrisites who
elected Dalton McGuinty, notwithstanding. It's
really just another example of why the
"Conservative Party" is likely to blow apart at the first small difficulty.

Brian Marlatt

White Rock, B.C.

(The letter-writer is a member of the Progressive Canadian Party.)

===================================
Al Heisey

GTA policy and other e.d.a.fears

As a policy buff I am incredibly clicked off by the indifference
of my own e.d.a of St. Paul's to the subject. The
national office of the party issued, to riding presidents at
least, a most open and interesting approach to review of
the party constitution.

However, I gather this never was forwarded to members
of the local board, let alone mere spear carriers like
myself, (in the great procession, as I like to imagine it!)
The process did not allow much time for a review by
those who might have views and since there is no constitution
committee in my local association I would
assume that we would have a policy committee extant to
which the matter could and should have been refered.
There is not a word out of the last annual meeting of the
association on who handles policy, if anyone, or how
others, not on the board, as I am not, might invite ourselves
to the discussions.

I consider this merely another illustration of how
"singing from the same song sheet" is a crumby way to
encourage interest and participation in the years-long
buildups to major and minor questions facing the party.
I argue that a widespread discussion of the party's present
constitution, how it evolved, where it might go, who
wants what, are all legit questions involving the members
of the party and the general, listening, public.
Monolithica is alive and well!

===================================
From: Rubie Britton
Subject: Reward for "Killing a Canadian"

Pakistan Newspaper Ad - Reward for killing a Canadian

You probably missed it in the local news, but there was a report
that someone in Pakistan had advertised in a newspaper an offer of a
reward to anyone who killed a Canadian - any Canadian.

An Australian dentist wrote the following editorial to help define
what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one.

An Australian Definition of a
Canadian - Written by an Australian Dentist

"A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German,
Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican,
African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian,
Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan.

A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or
one of the many other tribes known
as native Canadians. A Canadian's
religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim,
Hindu or none. In fact, there are more Muslims in Canada than in
Afghanistan. The key difference is that in Canada they are free to
worship as each of them chooses.
Whether they have a religion or no
religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to God, not to the
government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government
and for God.

A Canadian lives in one of the most
prosperous lands in the history
of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognize the right of each
person to the pursuit of happiness.

A Canadian is generous and Canadians have helped out just about
every other nation in the world in
their time of need, never asking
a thing in return. Canadians welcome the best of everything, the
best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the
best services and the best minds. But they also welcome the least
the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected.

These are the people who built Canada. You can try to kill a
Canadian if you must as other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world
have tried but in doing so you could
just be killing a relative or a
neighbour. This is because Canadians
are not a particular people from
a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of
freedom. Everyone who holds to that
spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian."

Please keep this going! Pass this around the World. Then pass it
around again. It says it all, for all of us.

'Keep your stick on the ice'

"and your head up"

As ever,
Rubie

===================================
ACCESS TO INFORMATION REQUEST
Khan report blocked, despite Tory promise on secrecy
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071029.ACCESS29/TPStory/National

CAMPBELL CLARK
October 29, 2007

OTTAWA -- The federal government has rejected
requests for the report on the Middle East penned
by floor-crossing MP Wajid Khan by arguing that
documents in the Prime Minister's Office are not
covered by Canada's Access to Information Act.

The response suggests that Prime Minister Stephen
Harper is hiding his records behind a secrecy
policy that he promised to change in the last election campaign.

Mr. Harper appointed Mr. Khan, then a Liberal MP,
to a post as his special adviser on the Middle
East in August of 2006. Mr. Khan promised then to
make his report public before leaving on his
16-day Middle East trip, which cost $38,000. But
the Prime Minister declined to release it.

Mr. Khan later switched sides to the Tories.

Now, the Privy Council Office, the central
government department headed by the Prime
Minister, has responded to an
access-to-information request by saying that it
has no such report under its "control."

A PCO official, Susan Fitzmorris, said that's
because records in the Prime Minister's Office -
which now has 92 employees - are not covered by the access law.

The government's assertion that ministers'
offices are not covered by the access law is not
new: In 1999, Jean Chrétien's government began
refusing access requests by saying that the
minister's office is not part of the department they head.

That interpretation was contested in court by
then-information commissioner John Reid, and
sharply criticized by the Conservatives and their
predecessor parties, the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives.

Mr. Harper promised in the last election campaign
to scrap it. The Conservative campaign platform
promised that the party's first task would be to
pass an "accountability act" that would
"implement" Mr. Reid's recommendations for reform.

Those recommendations include an amendment
intended to dispel any claim that ministers'
offices are not covered by the act. "This
provision is included to clarify that the offices
of ministers form part of the department over
which they preside," Mr. Reid's recommendations state.

"It's passing strange how quickly they forget," Mr. Reid said in an interview.

Mr. Harper's government did table a watered-down
accountability act last year, but without the access-to-information reforms.

Instead, the government sent a discussion paper
for study by a Commons committee, but the
committee quickly urged the government to simply
introduce Mr. Reid's reforms in a bill by Dec. 15, 2006.

A spokesman for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson,
Genevieve Breton, says the minister still wants
the committee to study the discussion paper.

In the meantime, the Conservative government is
fighting for the secrecy policy in court,
insisting ministers' offices and the PMO aren't covered by the law.

Mr. Reid's challenge of that claim in four court
cases is being continued by his successor, Robert Marleau.

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