On Parliament Hill

Selective Transparency

  • Ted Falk, Author
  • Member of Parliament, Provencher

Happy New Year and welcome to 2016! As with any other year, I believe that 2016 will bring both opportunities and challenges for our country. The most effective way to deal with challenges is for the government to enforce and pass legislation with the best interests of Canadians in mind.

When the Liberals campaigned, they promised transparency in government. This is very important as I support any measure that improves transparency. In fact, when the Conservatives were in government, two pieces of legislation that I firmly supported were:

The First Nations Financial Transparency bill (Bill C-27) – this ensured that First Nations Government make their financial information publicly available. This gave community members access to basic financial information such as audited financial statements, and the salaries and expenses of chief and council.

The Union Financial Transparency bill (Bill C-377) – was intended to provide rank-and-file union members and the general public with unions’ financial information. A forum research poll in July 2015 showed that 62% of Canadians supported this bill.

I am of the opinion that all levels of government must be accountable to the people they represent. Respecting tax payer’s money by making basic financial information publicly available should not be a debated issue, it is simply common sense.

Unfortunately, just before Christmas, the new Liberal Government decided not to enforce these two important pieces of legislation that ushered a new era of accountability to Indigenous Canadians, union members and the public at large.

Instead of repealing these laws through proper Parliamentary channels, which is what they promised, the Liberal Government decided not to enforce them.

Basic financial information for many politicians at different levels of government, including Members of Parliament, is publicly available. I believe that the new Liberal government should continue to support transparency at all levels.