Access to Information

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

May 3 was World Press Freedom Day, a day when the vital role of the free press is acknowledged and celebrated as an essential component of democracy, yet this government seems somewhat tardy when supplying information.

When asked to supply information about government programs and policies, this government drags its feet. While the average response time under freedom of information laws around the world is approximately two weeks, in Canada the response time can stretch for weeks if not months.

Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate please tell us how this government is reforming itself to provide timely access to information?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)):Honourable senators, I have answered that question many times in the past. As the honourable senator knows, under the Access to Information Act, access was expanded to bring in 69 more organizations. The government bureaucracy has been working hard. Access to information requests are not funnelled through ministers’ offices. Ministers’ offices do not have any role to play in access requests.

I believe that I tabled a written answer last year as a result of a question on this subject, and I will be happy to dig it up and provide it to the honourable senator.