N.L. marathon access-to-information filibuster goes on
Posted: Jun 13, 2012 7:09 AM NT
Last Updated: Jun 13, 2012 1:11 PM NT
The Opposition filibuster aimed at stalling proposed changes to Newfoundland and Labrador's Access to Information and Privacy Protection Act heads into its third day Wednesday.
NDP and Liberal Party MHAs have been talking in shifts to delay passing the bill.
“We’re keeping it out there in the media, in the public,” said NDP Leader Lorraine Michael. "People are hearing what the issues are."
Early Wednesday morning, Liberal MHAs said the debate may not end soon.
“My guess is that I would not see us finishing the debate at least in the next couple of days,” said Liberal MHA Yvonne Jones.
Given the Progressive Conservative Party’s majority in the house of assembly, the bill will pass eventually, but Government House Leader Jerome Kennedy said the PCs can wait.
“I think what they want to do is try to force us to bring in closure and thereby accuse us of stifling debate, so our approach is to let them go until they get tired,” he said.
Kennedy said if debate runs into Thursday the government will re-examine its position.
Meanwhile, a national group that advocates for open and accountable government is slamming proposed changes to this province's access to information legislation.
Democracy Watch says the changes would allow government to limit public scrutiny, exempt more information from disclosure, and weaken enforcement of the rules.
The group's founder, Duff Conacher, calls the proposed changes "dangerously undemocratic."
“It goes against what the trend is across the country which is towards more openness. Instead this is towards more excessive unjustifiable and undemocratic secrecy,” he said.
Conacher says tighter government control on information is a recipe for corruption, waste and abuse of power.
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