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Accountability & Democratic Renewal

Liberals will open government to Canadians

Posted on October 21, 2010

To create a new era of accountability for government spending and to spur innovation and economic growth, a Liberal government will launch the single largest effort of government openness and transparency in Canadian history through the Liberal Open Government Initiative.

“A Liberal government will end the era of secrecy and control by providing Canadians with the information they are entitled to,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. “Open government will unleash a wave of innovation, heighten government accountability, and let taxpayers track government spending.”

While progressive governments in other countries have deployed digital technology to advance transparency and unshackle information to fuel knowledge and innovation, Canada has been held back by the most secretive government in its history.

“To mark a clean break with the current Conservative government’s approach of limiting information to Canadians, a Liberal government will start by directing all federal departments and agencies to adopt a default principle of open government when it comes to sharing information,” said Mr. Ignatieff.

The Liberal Open Government Initiative will:

  1. Immediately restore the long-form census;
  2. Make as many government datasets as possible available to the public online free of charge at opendata.gc.ca in an open and searchable format, starting with Statistics Canada data, including data from the long-form census;
  3. Post all Access to Information requests, responses, and response times online at accesstoinformation.gc.ca; and
  4. Make information on government grants, contributions and contracts available through a searchable, online database at accountablespending.gc.ca.

“Open government will make accurate information freely available,” said Liberal Industry, Science and Technology Critic Marc Garneau. “Restoring the long-form census and making government data available online for free will unleash a wave of economic and social innovation.”

Liberal Democratic Renewal Critic Dr. Carolyn Bennett said Canada cannot continue to lag behind the rest of the industrialized world when it comes to government transparency, particularly where spending of tax dollars is concerned.

“It’s impossible for Canadians to know where their tax dollars are going or if government is getting value for money without access to usable and searchable government information,” said Dr. Bennett. “Whether it’s accountable spending, a transparent Access to Information regime, or free and open data, the Liberal Party is solidly committed to ensuring Canadians’ ‘right to know’ is fully respected.”

Link to the Liberal Open Government Initiative