Diversity among Canadian Heads of Mission: Two Years In | Canadian International Council

My latest:

Of the 74 appointments to date, close to half have been women compared to an end-2015 baseline of less than one-third. When considered proportionately to the 15 percent of Canada’s population who are both visible minorities and Canadian citizens, visible minorities remain slightly under-represented at 11% of appointments. Significantly, there are no identified Indigenous peoples heads of mission.

via Diversity among Canadian Heads of Mission: Two Years In | Canadian International Council

Advertisements

Losing a war criminal in Canada’s access to information system

Telling account of ATIP failure by Michael Friscolanti – ATIP took longer to respond than locating a fugitive:

Nearly four years ago, Maclean’s tracked down a fugitive: Dragan Djuric, a suspected Serbian war criminal. At the time, his mug shot was one of dozens featured on an FBI-style “Wanted” list launched by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)—a Stephen Harper-era initiative aimed at flushing out illegal immigrants who vanished before they could be deported.

A failed refugee claimant who supposedly disappeared in the early 2000s, Djuric’s trail had gone cold after the border agency said it exhausted every last lead in his file. Maclean’s managed to find him in a matter of a few weeks, thanks to some obvious clues left behind in his Federal Court records. Living in Slovenia—not somewhere in Canada, as Ottawa believed—Djuric was actually quite happy to talk to a reporter, anxious to prove he wasn’t hiding at all.

After the article was published, Maclean’s went looking for something else via the Access to Information Act: internal CBSA records discussing Djuric’s case. Only now, two and a half years after filing that ATIP request, has the agency handed over the documents.

Although the records contain some newsworthy revelations—including the fact that the Harper Conservatives quietly removed 15 other names from the Wanted list after the article appeared—the disclosure says a lot more about the dysfunctional state of Canada’s access to information system than it does about missing war criminals. Simply put, Maclean’s had a much easier time locating a fugitive than it did obtaining government documents about said fugitive.

“The access system is clearly broken,” says Fred Vallance-Jones, a journalism professor at the University of King’s College in Halifax, and project leader of an annual freedom-of-information audit. “If you don’t have the ability to get information reasonably promptly, then all we know about our government is what the government is willing to tell us in press releases and news conferences. And we all know that the government doesn’t always give the full picture.”

via Losing a war criminal in Canada’s access to information system – Macleans.ca

John Ivison: Concerns raised as Liberals consider tougher French requirements for public servants

Good discussion by Ivison of some of the issues involved:

Canada is blessed with a bilingual public service – a bureaucracy mildewed with caution and capable of stifling innovation in both official languages.

We are, in fact, better at stopping things happening than anyone – Canada is number one in the International Civil Service Effectiveness Index.

Yet, nearly five decades after the passage of the Official Languages Act, the public service is not bilingual enough, it seems.

A new report by two senior bureaucrats, commissioned by the Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, has found many public servants working in bilingual regions do not feel comfortable using their language of choice at work.

The solution, according to Patrick Borbey, president of the Public Service Commission of Canada, and senior bureaucrat, Matthew Mendelsohn, is to raise the linguistic requirements for those in supervisory roles.

This sounds fair enough at first blush – people should be able to work in the language in which they can express themselves most easily. The complaint is that even when French is used, it is symbolic – typically introduced at the beginning or end of a discussion but not sustained.

However, the backdrop to this is a public service that is already over-represented in executive positions by French speakers. Twenty three per cent of Canadians identify French as their first language but 26 per cent of Canada’s 250,000 federal public servants are French speakers and fully 31 per cent of those in executive positions primarily speak French.

Raising the linguistic bar is likely to exacerbate the dominance of French speakers in the upper echelons of the public service – sparking more resentment inside the bureaucracy, where many view the existing requirements as an insurmountable hurdle to promotion.

The proposal is to raise the requirement for French oral expression and comprehension from level B to level C – a test which only 35-45 per cent of employees currently pass.

The Liberals point out that the move toward superior proficiency levels is just one of 14 recommendations made by Borbey and Mendelsohn – and none are likely to be adopted in isolation.

The hope is that by increasing training levels across the public service, proficiency would improve at all levels.

“We’re committed to ensuring English and French speaking Canadians have equal opportunities of employment and advancement in federal institutions, including through better and more accessible language training necessary to achieve higher language standards,” said Jean-Luc Ferland, press secretary to Scott Brison, president of the Treasury Board.

He blamed the Conservative government for cutting training budgets and said any proposed changes would be made in consultation with public sector unions.

That goes without saying since the report recommends the government fund increased training by “re-purposing” the $800 bilingualism bonus paid to public servants who meet the language requirements for their position. That goes without saying since the report recommends the government fund increased training by “re-purposing” the $800 bilingualism bonus paid to public servants who meet the language requirements for their position. (Full disclosure: my spouse qualifies for the bonus.)

Killing the bonus could prove counter-productive – many bureaucrats maintain their skills with the express purpose of passing their five-yearly language test and qualifying for the $800 bonus.

One wonders if Justin Trudeau would be mobbed by joyful civil servants in the future, as he was at the Global Affairs building two years ago, if he claws back the bilingualism bonus?

André Picotte, acting president of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, said his union has not been consulted on what would constitute a hefty pay-cut for his members.

“There are several ways we can foster bilingualism in the work place. But not by axing benefits in place since the 1970s,” he said.

He called on the government to increase the training budget so that it is accessible to junior bureaucrats, who find it difficult to cultivate the language skills necessary for jobs requiring bilingualism.

It’s a long-standing criticism that language training is offered too late in the career of public servants, and is often allocated through performance management processes, with the result some staff never have access to in-person language training.

The report’s recommendations may mitigate some of those shortcomings – for example, the requirement for each institution or department to create a “personal language training account” to enable all employees to receive a certain number of hours of language training.

But outside of Quebec and New Brunswick, just eight per cent of Canadians are bilingual – for the vast majority, ordering quiche lorraine taxes their linguistic ability.

If the Liberals adopt a policy that makes the federal public service even less representative of the Canadian public than it is already, they will stoke the impression that the West, in particular, is being frozen out.

Source: National Post

Inside the progressive think tank that really runs Canada [Canada2020]

Good long read by Anne Kingston:

To study Canada 2020, it’s useful to have some grid paper to better map its myriad interconnections, many which reveal the two degrees of separation that define Canadian politics. Three of its co-founders—Smith, Tim Barber and Eugene Lang, all well-connected Liberals—were also principals in the Ottawa-based Bluesky Strategy Group, a firm whose services include lobbying and media relations (Lang left Bluesky and Canada 2020 in 2013). Pitfield, the fourth named co-founder, has impeccable Liberal bona fides: the son of Senator Michael Pitfield, clerk of the Privy Council when Pierre Trudeau was PM; a lifelong friend of Justin Trudeau, helping him write the stirring 2000 eulogy to his father that paved his way to political office. Pitfield, who also worked for the Canada China Business Council founded by billionaire Paul ­Desmarais, is married to Anna Gainey, elected president of the Liberal Party of Canada in 2014; he ran digital strategy for Trudeau’s leadership bid and also for the 2015 federal Liberal campaign.

Connections between Canada 2020, the Liberal Party and Bluesky can look like a Venn diagram on steroids. Bluesky and Canada 2020 are based at 35 O’Connor St., where the party rented space for a temporary “volunteer hub” during the election. Pitfield intersects with the Liberals professionally via his company Data Sciences Inc., which has an exclusive agreement to manage the party’s digital engagement; two Data Sciences staffers sit on the Liberal Party’s board of directors.

Where there is Liberal news, there’s often a Canada 2020 connection. Take the recent controversy over Rana Sarkar, named Canada’s consul general to San Francisco at a salary twice the listed compensation. Media focused on his friendship with Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s senior adviser. But Sarkar has deep Canada 2020 links, too: he was named to its advisory board in 2015, is the author of a chapter in one of its “policy road maps,” and has participated in its speaker series. The bottom line: to understand this big-L Liberal moment in Canadian politics, you have to understand Canada 2020.

When asked about the organization’s genesis, co-founder Tim Barber points to an Oct. 2003 New York Times Magazine story, “Notion Building,” about the Center for American Progress (CAP), which had recently been founded by John Podesta. Bill Clinton’s former White House chief of staff (and later an Obama adviser) wanted to take on the right with an enterprise that could book liberal thinkers on cable TV, create an “edgy’’ website, and recruit scholars to research and promote new progressive policy ideas. CAP wasn’t an organ of the Democratic Party, Podesta insisted, though history points to it being just that.

Podesta hates the term “think tank,” Barber says. “I do too. It’s way too passive and conjures days gone by. His view was that there’s an opportunity for organizations to put as much time into marketing and communicating big ideas as coming up with those big ideas.”

Source: Inside the progressive think tank that really runs Canada – Macleans.ca

Fonctionnaires autochtones: insatisfaction, discrimination et harcèlement | Maxime Bergeron | Politique canadienne

Haven’t seen this covered in English media. Worrisome (although it would be useful to have some comparative data for other groups):

Alors qu’Ottawa multiplie les appels à la «réconciliation» avec les peuples issus des Premières Nations, une enquête menée auprès de 2189 fonctionnaires fédéraux autochtones révèle un pourcentage élevé d’insatisfaction, de même que de nombreux cas de «discrimination» et de «harcèlement» au travail.

L’enquête menée par le groupe-conseil Quorus au profit du ministère de la Sécurité publique, obtenue par La Presse, indique aussi que 40% des employés autochtones songent à quitter leur poste d’ici deux à trois ans. Des conclusions qui ne surprennent pas du tout Magali Picard, vice-présidente exécutive à l’Alliance canadienne de la fonction publique (AFCP) pour le Québec et porte-parole du Cercle national des peuples autochtones.

«Je ne vous ferai pas croire qu’il n’y a pas de discrimination au gouvernement du Canada, ce n’est pas vrai. Ce que ça fait, souvent, c’est que les gens ne restent pas en poste.»

Mme Picard, membre de la nation huronne-wendate, dit avoir elle-même vécu plusieurs situations troublantes alors qu’elle était employée du gouvernement fédéral. Elle entend encore régulièrement les problèmes de fonctionnaires autochtones pendant des «cercles fermés» de discussion, où ils ne craignent pas les représailles.

«Pas plus tard qu’en mai dernier, j’ai entendu des histoires d’horreur, où des gestionnaires venaient juger les us et coutumes qui sont pratiqués dans les réserves ou les familles, en disant que c’était dépassé ou du folklore, que les gens devraient être gênés, raconte la dirigeante syndicale. On entend aussi tous les stéréotypes : vous ne payez pas vos taxes, votre électricité. C’est aberrant.»

«Sentiment de discrimination»

Parmi les conclusions du sondage de Quorus, remis en mai dernier au gouvernement, on apprend que 42% des autochtones jugent l’accès à des possibilités d’apprentissage et de perfectionnement «inégal». Questionnés sur les plus grandes difficultés rencontrées dans leur emploi, 18% ont mentionné un «manque de respect pour la culture autochtone» et 17%, un «sentiment de discrimination».

«Ceux qui ont une expérience négative à l’égard de leur environnement de travail ont abordé les aspects suivants : la discrimination, le harcèlement, l’intimidation et le manque de respect en milieu de travail», peut-on lire dans le rapport de 123 pages.

«Dans certains cas, on a rapporté des attaques insidieuses, et dans d’autres, des situations de discrimination directe.»

Le sondage souligne que 56% des fonctionnaires issus des Premières Nations sont «satisfaits ou très satisfaits» de leur emploi. Mais 40% pensent à quitter leur poste d’ici deux ou trois ans, une proportion plus élevée que pour l’ensemble des employés de la fonction publique fédérale (26%), d’après des données citées dans l’étude.

Amélioration

Selon la syndicaliste Magali Picard, la situation des autochtones se serait dégradée dans la fonction publique pendant la décennie du règne des conservateurs, entre 2006 et 2015. «Oui, on a vu une recrudescence des comportements de harcèlement, d’intimidation, d’abus de pouvoir, de commentaires qui sont vraiment très difficiles à croire dans les années auxquelles nous sommes rendues, et ce, de la part de l’employeur le plus important au pays.»

Les choses auraient toutefois commencé à s’améliorer depuis la passation des pouvoirs à Ottawa, soutient Mme Picard. «Même si ça ne va pas à la vitesse qu’on voudrait, l’attitude est différente, le respect est là, et la volonté de rétablir des liens, on la sent. Ça, ça ne peut que nous aider à améliorer les conditions des employés de la fonction publique.»

Réponse d’Ottawa

Au cabinet de Scott Brison, président du Conseil du Trésor qui chapeaute la fonction publique canadienne, on a souligné hier avoir pris un « engagement fondamental » en vue de « renouveler la relation avec les peuples autochtones ».

«Il nous reste bien du travail en matière de recrutement et de rétention des employés autochtones», affirme Jean-Luc Ferland, attaché de presse du président du Conseil du Trésor Scott Brison.

Pour tenter d’attirer davantage de jeunes autochtones, Ottawa a lancé en 2016 un programme de stages d’été destiné aux étudiants, considéré comme «un pas significatif dans la bonne direction». Le nombre de participants a triplé entre la première et la deuxième année, avance le Conseil du Trésor.

Selon des chiffres de mars 2016, quelque 5,2% des 259 000 employés du gouvernement fédéral sont issus des peuples autochtones. Il s’agit d’une surreprésentation par rapport au taux de disponibilité des autochtones au sein de la population active, qui s’élève à 3,4%, indique une autre étude d’Ottawa.

Source: Fonctionnaires autochtones: insatisfaction, discrimination et harcèlement | Maxime Bergeron | Politique canadienne

Feds underestimated complexity, ignored concerns about Phoenix pay system, review finds

Pretty damning account of senior management failures:

An independent report on the problem-plagued Phoenix pay system rollout released Thursday says the government underestimated its complexity.

Public Services and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough (Delta, B.C.) apologized to affected public servants in an Oct. 5 press conference, and said the review confirmed many of the thoughts she already had. She noted fixing the pay system is the first priority in her mandate letter from the prime minister, given to her after he moved her into the job in August.

“The implementation of such a complex business transformation across the entire government of Canada was a massive undertaking that I believe history will record was set up to fail,” she said, noting there was poor planning on almost every key aspect. “There’s no easy or quick fix for the problems in the pay system.”

The report’s “lessons learned” included: assigning accountability and authority to a single office, properly defining the scope of the project, fully testing the software before launch, and not expecting savings until well after implementation.

Overall, the independent consultants hired to do the review found the officials working on the project were most concerned with being on time and on budget. Briefings were usually positive and the culture of the department responsible prevented people from speaking negatively about the project. The report said bad news was usually buried, with concerns mostly ignored. Even at the pay system’s launch in February 2016, testing was incomplete, with no planned fix date and no contingency plan.

Other lessons included making sure to have sufficient employee knowledge capacity, and communicating effectively. The report noted workplace culture was also important, and that the 17 lessons it outlined “are yet to be learned” by the government.

Though work on the new pay system began under the previous Conservative government, the Liberals launched it in February 2016. It was supposed to consolidate the payroll of over 300,000 public service employees, but instead it has left many of them overpaid, underpaid, or not paid at all. Radio-Canada recently reported that as of Aug. 8 nearly half of the 313,734 federal public servants paid through Phoenix had been waiting at least a month to have their complaints dealt with. The government contracted IBM to configure the software for the government payroll system.

The program was supposed to save the government $70-million per year, but so far the Liberals have sunk in about $400-million to fix it.

Source: Feds underestimated complexity, ignored concerns about Phoenix pay system, review finds – The Hill Times – The Hill Times

And good background to some of the potential conflicts of interest with some of companies doing background studies and recommendations, and working on implementation:

Two companies that were awarded tens of millions of dollars in contracts to help create the new federal pay system played a part in recommending the Phoenix project in the first place, CBC News has learned.

This appearance of a conflict of interest in the very early days of the project is raising flags for those who monitor federal procurement and accountability.

The internal government report that recommended a new pay system in 2009 relied heavily on two studies — one from IBM and another from PricewaterhouseCoopers. These were two of the companies that went on to help develop Phoenix for a combined price tag of more than $200 million — and counting.

“That’s a cause for concern,” said Christopher Stoney, who follows procurement and accountability issues as a professor at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University. “[It’s] clearly getting into areas here of conflict of interest.”

The recommendation

In May 2009, top government bureaucrats delivered a document called Initiative to Fix the Pay System Business Plan, which convinced decision makers to bring in a new, modern pay system. That system would later be called Phoenix.

A year earlier, international professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers published a report called Analysis of Industry and Government of Canada Pay Administration Services Delivery Model Options. The PricewaterhouseCooper’s study has not been made public, but it is quoted liberally throughout the Phoenix business plan.

The PwC study suggested the most cost effective choice for the Government of Canada would be to create a consolidated pay centre and use customized off-the-shelf pay software. It was advice the government embraced.

PricewaterhouseCoopers also reviewed the business case as, in the government’s words, “an independent Third Party to ensure unbiased and accurate content.”

The company has earned $17.4 million through its work on the Phoenix system since 2009, according to the federal government database Buyandsell.gc.ca.

“I think anybody looking at this would be concerned that there was this possible undermining of independence,” said Stoney, who co-edits the annual publication How Ottawa Spends. “At some point it seems as though that independence was eroded and [PwC] became increasingly key players in this.”

IBM’s role

The government’s Initiative to Fix the Pay System Business Case also depended on research provided by IBM in a February 2007 report called Pay Benchmarking Study for the Government of Canada.

In September, CBC reported details about IBM Canada’s extensive responsibilities to design, implement, operate and fix the Phoenix system, for a price tag that has so far reached $185 million.

The 2007 IBM study pointed out that custom, off-the-shelf software systems are “consistently more cost effective and enable higher quality and efficiency, when implemented and sustained properly.”

This was exactly the kind of system that IBM was hired to implement for Phoenix.

IBM also noted the government’s old system was at risk of failure. Its report warned that these “payroll errors can have significant consequences for both the financial picture of the organization and talent retention.”

‘Brought into the tent’

“It’s clear that two of the contractors that played a role on the build and operations played a role in the business case,” said Kevin Page, president of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa.

“So we literally brought them into the tent, asked them to see whether or not the business case was strong, asked them to do benchmarking, which is critical to performance of a business case.”

Page was appointed Canada’s first Parliamentary Budget Officer in 2008 and was in that role when this business plan was developed. But he had never seen the business case until CBC sent it to him recently.

Handling the public policy hot potatoes

Rachel Curran, former director of policy to former PM Harper, argues correctly for governments to “embrace debate.” While some, of course, will dispute the record of the Harper government with respect to its receptivity to debate, it nevertheless is sound advice to all governments and public servants.

Her point about diversity of political views, apart from her reflexive reference to elites (of which she is one), is particularly important, as well as, of course, not automatically labelling as, for example, “elitist” or xenophobic:

The most important lesson from our summer of discontent, however, is this: we should not shy away from the necessary and inevitable debates around policy-making in sensitive areas. Too often in Canada, governments avoid so-called “third rail” policy issues because they are afraid of the political consequences. That doesn’t serve our country or its citizens well.

The Harper government never returned to the problems it was attempting to address in Bill C-30, and our police forces still don’t have the tools they need to fight online crime effectively. Our employment insurance system continues to perpetuate a widespread system of part-time employment in some regions, while leaving full-time workers without needed coverage in others. Jurisdictions elsewhere in the world with mixed public/private healthcare systems achieve notably better outcomes, spending less money per capita, than we do. But we are not talking — really talking — about any of these issues. In that sense, it is a blessing when internal and external events coincide to force a public conversation on an issue like immigration or our refugee system.

Government aside, as a society we should not be afraid of public debate, or differences in outlook. Elite Canadian opinion, whether represented in the media, academia, think tanks, or even the business world, is often reluctant to tolerate and accommodate dissent, or to provide space for alternate views. Suppressing freedom of thought and speech does not suppress or eliminate opinions we find uncomfortable or unpleasant; in fact, the opposite is true. Shutting down the expression of alternate views simply encourages individuals to seek out less productive outlets, because there is no space or voice for them in mainstream discussion.

We need to actively embrace difference. Diversity does not just encompass ethnicity or gender or sexual orientation; it also includes political and cultural views. This does not mean tolerating hate speech or exhortations to violence, but it does mean accommodating opinions and concerns without painting them as de facto racist, for example. Vigorous disagreements on matters of policy and politics are not cause for hand-wringing, but are indicative of a dynamic and thriving democracy. Only when our public discussion is fully open and honest will we also have public policy that is truly representative and informed.

Source: Handling the public policy hot potatoes

Erick Erickson: How to Find Common Ground @NYTOpinion

Health crisis and mindfulness of mortality provoke reflection on all sides of the political spectrum. Unfortunately, all too often, this awareness does not occur before:

The truth, though, is that our Facebook friends are probably not going to water our flowers while we are on vacation and our Twitter followers will not bring us a meal if we are sick. But the actual human being next door might do both if we meet him.

This is what I want my children to know if I should die before they wake. The kitchen table is the most important tool they have to reshape their community. Preparing a home-cooked meal and inviting people over, both those we know and those we want to know, forces us to find common ground.

Not everything should be political, and we can only make everything political when we decide the other side is evil just because they disagree with us. We can see the world only in this polarized way if we never take the time to know anyone on the other side, if we never find ways to build friendship despite our differences.

Every person has an interesting story to tell. I want my children to know my story. But I also want them to know that the stranger next door has one, too, and that even if they disagree on much, they can still be friends.

We may also never find that common ground with people whose politics or faith conflicts with ours. But we owe it to one another to disagree agreeably, without anger or intimidation, whether on a front porch or a Facebook page. A little more grace among us all would go a long way toward healing the nation.

Why Canada’s political pipeline leaves little room for anyone but white men

Good study by Erin Tolley (disclosure: know Erin from our time together at CIC/IRCC and we remain in contact):

For women, the toughest hurdle is at the nomination level, the first checkpoint into the political realm.

Racialized minorities come up against barriers further along, beginning at the candidate selection stage.

That’s according to Erin Tolley, who teaches political science at the University of Toronto.

Tolley is among the first to map the race and gender of more than 800 people vying for a political party’s nomination ahead of the 2015 vote in 136 of the country’s most diverse ridings, where racialized minorities make up at least 15 per cent of the population, half of which are in Ontario. (Her tally uses Statistics Canada’s definition of “visible minority” and therefore does not include Indigenous nomination contestants or candidates.)

Wannabe politicians must first successfully compete for their choice party’s nomination in order to become the candidate in an election.

Though Tolley’s project is still in the works, early findings suggest political parties aren’t doing enough to diversify the pool of candidates.

“The dynamics for women and racialized minorities are different,” she said. “That’s important for parties to know because they therefore need to have different strategies if they want to attract and want to run women or racialized minority candidates.”

Women make up 52 per cent of the population, but only accounted for 33 per cent of nomination contestants across those 136 ridings. The proportion of female election candidates ticked up slightly, to 36 per cent, and 31 per cent of elected MPs in those districts were women.

That suggests women are less likely to throw their hat in the ring, but once they do, they fare well.

“Maybe women don’t want to run, they don’t want to be called ‘Barbies,’ for example,” Tolley said, citing veteran MP Gerry Ritz’s now-deleted and apologized-for recent tweet that referred to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna as “climate Barbie.”

Tolley put the onus on political parties.

“Political parties don’t do sufficient work to identify women candidates and encourage them to run,” she said. “Frankly, not enough fingers are pointed at political parties. We don’t need to change the electoral system to get women into politics. All parties need to do is nominate more women. It’s actually pretty simple.”

Racialized minorities don’t experience the same obstacle.

According to the data, minorities declare their candidacy in proportions that match their presence in the population. However, by the time Canadians go to the polls the share of MPs of colour is far below that.

“They want to be nomination contestants, but then the party is less likely to select them, and voters are even less likely to select them,” Tolley said.

Across the 136 ridings, racialized minorities comprised 38 per cent of the population and 37 per cent of nomination contestants. That dwindled to 33 per cent of election candidates, and to 29 per cent of MPs — an eight-point gap between the number of hopeful nominees and those who won a seat on the Hill.

A contributing factor is one Tolley has previously explored — that minority candidates tend to compete against each other in battleground districts.

That’s because racialized minorities are more likely to run, and win, in more diverse ridings, Tolley said. For instance, three candidates of colour may vie for their party’s nomination in an ethnically-rich district, and split the ballot.

“So, you have this big pool of people who are interested, but they’re competing against each other, essentially cancelling each other out — and that’s happening at each level,” she explained.

As for white men, their political possibilities widen.

Thirty-nine per cent of nomination contestants in those diverse ridings were white men, and they comprised 40 per cent of candidates on the ticket. Nearly half, 48.5 per cent, of those who won a seat were white males.

Source: Why Canada’s political pipeline leaves little room for anyone but white men | Toronto Star

Canada’s access-to-information system has worsened under Trudeau government: report

Hopefully, this report will provoke some attention:

Canada’s access-to-information system has only gotten worse under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, and a new Liberal bill intended to fix the problems has “worrisome” elements, a new report has found.

A freedom-of-information audit from News Media Canada, a national association representing the Canadian news media industry, gives the federal government a failing grade for timely disclosure of information. It also said its performance in this year’s audit “was even worse than in the latter years of the former Stephen Harper government.”

“The results are not encouraging and show a system that seems as broken as ever,” said a report on the audit by journalist and professor Fred Vallance-Jones and Emily Kitagawa, a freelance journalist and social worker.

Nathan Cullen, the NDP democratic reform critic, called the findings “shameful.”

“It’s got to be a bad day for Liberals when Stephen Harper was more open to the Canadian public than they are,” he said.

The report came the same day the federal information watchdog said she is “generally very disappointed” with the Liberal bill that would revise the Access to Information Act, which is intended to let Canadians see federal files.

Information commissioner Suzanne Legault said on Tuesday she will outline her concerns about the planned changes in a special report to Parliament this week.

The act, which took effect in 1983, allows people who pay $5 to request everything from correspondence and studies to expense reports and meeting minutes.

Agencies must answer requests within 30 days or provide a good reason for taking more time.

Source: Canada’s access-to-information system has worsened under Trudeau government: report – The Globe and Mail