Grits’ trans­parency prob­lems pil­ing up

The Daily Observer - - OPINION -

It’s al­most ev­ery day now we hear sto­ries about the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment hav­ing prob­lems with trans­parency. So much for sunny ways! The lat­est one comes from the fed­eral au­di­tor gen­eral’s re­port re­leased Tues­day. The au­di­tor says Bill Morneau’s fi­nance de­part­ment wouldn’t re­lease info on what the gov­ern­ment was do­ing to meet a prom­ise to phase out fos­sil fuel sub­si­dies.

As the Cana­dian Press put it: “Fi­nance re­fused to pro­vide doc­u­ments re­quested by the au­di­tors, cit­ing cabi­net con­fi­dence, said (au­di­tor gen­eral Michael Fer­gu­son), who de­scribed the re­fusal as very trou­bling.”

It gets even more trou­bling when you add up ev­ery­thing else the gov­ern­ment is se­cre­tive about.

This week, re­ports re­vealed in­dige­nous ad­vo­cacy groups can’t get an­swers on what’s hap­pen­ing with the in­quiry into mur­dered and miss­ing in­dige­nous women.

What­ever your po­si­tion on the in­quiry, it’s go­ing ahead so it ought to be done right. Yet it’s been up and run­ning for more than six months and stake­hold­ers are re­ceiv­ing scant in­for­ma­tion.

Then there’s the fi­nance de­part­ment re­port that dis­closes how much a fed­er­ally man­dated car­bon tax across the coun­try will cost av­er­age Cana­di­ans. The gov­ern­ment won’t re­lease that fig­ure.

Op­po­si­tion MPs are fight­ing for the info but the Lib­er­als are dig­ging in their heels. What is this, some kind of war on sci­ence and facts?

And let’s not for­get last week in ques­tion pe­riod, when Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau dodged 18 ques­tions from op­po­si­tion MPs about his in­ter­ac­tions with the ethics com­mis­sioner. Eigh­teen times! A card­board cut-out could have subbed in for the PM.

Mean­while, the Trudeau’s hol­i­day va­ca­tion to the Aga Khan’s pri­vate Ba­hamas is­land is back in the spot­light as the is­land’s own­er­ship struc­ture faced me­dia scru­tiny.

“The prime min­is­ter’s ex­pla­na­tion of his now-in­fa­mous va­ca­tion is so full of holes and con­tra­dic­tions it is start­ing to sound like a White House press brief­ing,” NDP leader Tom Mul­cair said Tues­day.

What on earth hap­pened to the “real change” agenda that promised trans­parency and hon­esty? Is this the same Lib­eral Party peo­ple voted for? Is this the same Justin Trudeau who pledged his com­mit­ment to mid­dle-class Cana­di­ans?

Ob­servers from all sides of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum, as well as non-par­ti­sans, are ask­ing ques­tions about Trudeau’s trans­parency. They de­serve an­swers.

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