30 Fairmont Park Lane S
It’s good to see the Lethbridge Herald is defending the benefits of and need for open access to information. (Herald Editorial, “Waiting for answers”, September 30)
The issue of climate change is much disputed. Actions Canada might take to manage greenhouse gases, said to be the cause, have great economic significance. There is a potential to spend, or cause Canadians to spend, tens or hundreds of billions of dollars on initiatives which might be unnecessary and ineffective.
Over the past few months I’ve become aware of governmental behaviour which seriously limits public access to information on climate change issues. Two federal government websites of long standing are no longer available to Canadians. The Natural Resources Canada Climate Change site (www.climatechange.nrcan.gc.ca) was closed to us on May 26, 2006. The Government of Canada Climate Change site (www.climatechange.gc.ca) was closed June 30. These closures were discussed only briefly in the national media. I’ve sought a rationale for the closures without success.
While looking at the government sponsored website for the United Nations meeting on Kyoto in Montreal which took place last fall, I noticed that part of the site was set up to be accessible only to those who were involved in the meeting. Again Canadians are excluded from access, while those who profess to speak for us are privy to inside information. At the very least that password protected site should have been open to Canadians after the meeting.
This trend to conceal government information on climate change is perplexing to say the least. I wonder who is responsible and why it was done. Our new federal government’s election platform included a promise of more ministerial accountability and enhancements to access to information. The ministers responsible for these websites need to find out what is going on and ensure that an efficient, effective, and independent professional public service is working to provide Canadians the information they need to understand what is going on with climate change issues.