Monday, July 17, 2006

Letter to City Council regarding federal centennial funding for May 23, 2006, meeting

May 10, 2006

His Worship the Mayor
And Members of City Council
City Hall
Saskatoon, SK S7K 0J5

Dear Mayor Atchison and Members of Council:

Re: Federal Centennial Funding

I wish to submit the attached documents to City Council as information. They were obtained through an Access to Information (ATI) request from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD).

WD bureaucrats severed a significant amount of information. In fact, a number of pages were withheld in their entirety. The section of the federal Access to Information Act cited was 21(1)(b) – Operations of Government, which reads: “The head of a government institution may refuse to disclose any record requested under this Act that contains (a) advice or recommendations developed by or for a government institution or a minister of the Crown, (b) an account of consultations or deliberations involving officers or employees of a government institution, a minister of the Crown or the staff of a minister of the Crown.”

When he announced the Request for Proposals (RFP) on November 7, 2005, former Liberal finance minister Ralph Goodale said the process would be fair, open and transparent.

In her March 24, 2006, speech announcing the winners of Saskatoon’s $10-million share of the Canada Celebrates Saskatchewan money WD Minister Carol Skelton said the selection process – like her new Conservative government – emphasized “accountability”.

Critical details of WD’s decision-making process are being kept secret. If such information is to be exempt, one of the major purposes of transparency fails, namely, to provide a means of holding the government decision-making process accountable; this simply cannot be done if there is no public access to the documents that government uses to base its decision.

Goodale and Skelton’s talk of fairness, openness, transparency and accountability were nothing more than empty words.

Thank you for your time.


Joe Kuchta
Saskatoon, SK



Hon. Carol Skelton, Minister of National Revenue and Western Economic Diversification Canada
Catherine Bell, MP, New Democratic Party of Canada WD Critic
Don Bell, MP, Liberal Party of Canada WD Critic
Canada Celebrates Saskatchewan Funding Applicants


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