Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Behind the Curtain
So here it is hey, budget day in Canada. One of the few days of the year when Canadians actually pay attention to how our government is spending our money. And believe me, governments hate that.
They would much prefer to operate in total secrecy. It's in their nature. But luckily we have the Access to Information Act, which says if you, or I, or a journalist has a legitimate question about how our government is spending the money they have to answer us.
And just to make sure they do, we have an information commissioner – Robert Marleau – whose entire job is to make sure that government plays by the rules. And what's he say?
Well he says that when it comes to transparency this government is...what's the word I'm looking for? Terrible. He says in Ottawa the "fog is thickening". That government is intentionally delaying or ignoring most information requests.
Well that's great news isn't it?
Just when government is preparing to spend more money than any of us could have ever imagined, it's suddenly harder to find out what they're actually up to. Money and Secrecy. What could go wrong? It's such a good duo. It's right up there with gasoline and matches.
Maybe over the last couple years a bit of secrecy didn't really matter, because at least we knew they were spending within their limits. But now they're preparing to spend billions of dollars we don't even have. Billions. With a "B."
And like a lot of Canadians I had a hard time wrapping my head around what a billion actually was, and then I got an e-mail that pointed out that a billion seconds ago it was 1978. Yes a billion seconds ago, the Village People were at the top of the charts. So a billion is a lot!
And seeing as we're preparing to spend over sixty billion dollars we don't even have, maybe now is not the time for added secrecy. Or the next thing you know we're gonna wake up and find out that half that money got spent in Jim Flaherty's riding. So if they have to spend the money, fine, but only if the fog lifts and the sun shines in.
note: Pretty scary when you consider the conservatives track record... So whenever conservatives gain power they abuse it and use it to get money for themselves and their friends.