The Yukon Party has tabled plans to restrict public access to government documents.
Proposed changes to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act would restrict the public from seeing many types of documents, including briefing notes prepared for ministers by civil servants in their department.
“The Yukon Party government has flip-flopped on its election promise to practise open and accountable government,” said NDP MLA Jan Stick. “They’ve launched an attack on Yukoners’ right to access government information.
“They might as well have called their bill the Government Secrets and Suppression of Information Act.”
Public Works Minister Wade Istchenko responded to the NDP’s concerns in the legislature Tuesday. He said that the proposed changes bring the Yukon to the “middle of the pack” in terms of access to information in jurisdictions across Canada.
“I didn’t know we were attempting to be the middle of the pack,” responded Stick. “We should be trying to achieve top of the pack—to lead. That’s what this Yukon government in the past has been able to do.
“A healthy democracy requires open access to government information. Media organizations need this information to accurately inform the public debate.
“Most importantly, the people who elect a government and to whom the government is ultimately responsible and accountable need this information so they can determine if the government is acting in their best interests.”