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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Canada's most secret government department

The Canadian Association of Journalists has announced the winner of its 2007 Code of Silence Award, the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Department denied the existence of documents related to the treatment of Afghan detainees, but was forced to release a heavily edited version of the report to the Toronto Globe and Mail in which every reference to torture and abuse in Afghan prisons was blacked out. The Department also failed to respond to 60% of Freedom of Information requests last year and received an "F" grade from the Information Commissioner.

The full details and the list of runners up confirm many earlier reports that Canada's Access to Information Act and provincial equivalents are not working well.

With reference to our last item concerning an important decision about the connection between Ontario's Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the FOI legislation, here is an interesting analysis by Tracey Tyler of the Toronto Star.

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