moved for leave to introduce Bill C-326, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act (open government).
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Burnaby—Douglas not only for seconding the bill, but for his tireless work on the subject of freedom of information and access to information.
The bill finds its origin in the notion that the people of Canada have the right to know what their government is doing with their money. In fact, even further, we argue that freedom of information is the very oxygen that democracy breathes.
I would like to pay tribute to a former member of Parliament, Mr. John Bryden, who dedicated most of his career to fighting for access to information reform, and also to Mr. John Reid, the former information commissioner, who drafted this very bill that I am putting forward for first reading today. The bill was written chapter and verse by one of the foremost authorities on access to information, the former information commissioner himself.
Never has there been a more pressing need for the public's right to know than on the threshold of rolling out the massive financial stimulus package. The public deserves to know how the money is being spent and the public deserves access to the government files where the information is held.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)