moved for leave to introduce Bill C-301, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act (open government).
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce the open government act. I want to recognize and pay tribute to the former information commissioner, John Reid. He and his staff actually drafted all of this bill to illustrate the shortcomings of an act that has not been reviewed since 1983.
I would also point out that the adoption of the bill actually would fulfill the campaign promise of the Conservative Party which, in its campaign literature in 2006, promised to introduce John Reid's open government act. It found its way into the federal accountability legislation in 2006 but was promptly removed by the time that bill received first reading.
The bill would seek to enhance and expand the access to information regime in this country. It would create a public interest override. The public interest would override the interests of the government in keeping something secret. It would seek to enhance the ability of members of the general public to know what their government was doing with their money, which I argue is a fundamental freedom and a cornerstone of any western democracy.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)