Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Something to be proud of

Apparently we have the best freedom of information regime in the world:

A new study ranks Canada dead last in an international comparison of freedom-of-information laws — a hard fall after many years being judged a global model in openness.

The study by a pair of British academics looked at the effectiveness of freedom-of-information laws in five parliamentary democracies: Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Canada.

New Zealand placed first and Canada last.

Ironically, that's despite us not having the official statistics on request and complaint numbers and request outcomes of comparator countries; the study thinks those are important, but also looks at political support for the law. And here, that's pretty much universal. Unlike overseas, our politicians were not allowed to respond to the inevitable political discomfort induced by greater transparency by introducing filing fees for requests or narrowing the scope of the law. And while they're fighting a desperate rearguard action to keep Parliament outside the scope of the OIA, in the face of mass public support for the idea, that's one they will inevitably lose.