Last day I discussed how the Canadian political establishment, like Claudius in Hamlet, shows little respect for the citizens. I’d like to continue with this idea in today’s post before going on to examine some American examples tomorrow.
The current Conservative government, led by Stephen Harper, promised in the last election to establish a regime that stresses transparency and accountability. That promise has proven to be just the usual political rhetoric one expects from today’s caliber of politician, in other words, just another illusion of respect for the people. The most recent and egregious example of this is the fact that Harper and his cronies tried, on the claim of national security, to keep secret blacked out parts of the O’Connor commission of inquiry into the Maher Arar false imprisonment
and torture debacle. It turns out that the reason given, national security, was a lie; the actual reason was the report was embarrassing to Canadian and American security officials, as they knew from the outset that the alleged evidence used to send him to Syria was obtained from another man through Syrian torture. Fortunately, the courts have now forced most of this material to be made public.
The Freedom of Information and Privacy Association had this to say:
The decision to cite national-security grounds to censor about 1,500 words of Judge O'Connor's report was made by Conservative cabinet ministers, and it was they who ordered federal government lawyers to fight their release in court.
"This failure to inform Canadians truthfully about key mistakes of government serves to highlight Tory hypocrisy over our right of access to information," said FIPA executive director Darrell Evans. "We were deeply disappointed in the Conservative government's failure to deliver on their election promises to increase federal government transparency."
For the full story, click here.
In Hamlet, Claudius’ smooth façade conceals some terrible realities. I think this one Canadian example suggests the potential of the same truth in my country.