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Bill C-58 - Access To Information & Privacy Laws That Improve Neither For Canada

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There were a lot of big promises in that 2015 LPC Campaign, weren't there? Such as electoral reform. Such as eliminating the National Energy Board and having new project hearings. Such as a new "relationship" with Indigenous Peoples. Such as "fixing" C-51. See a common theme here? Well, add another one to the growing pile. After promising to renew and replace Canada's 1982 Privacy and Access to Information laws, we get Bill C-58 which amends those 35 year old laws instead of replacing them.

Why have corporate media ignored this issue so consistently except for the odd cursory update of its progress on the Order Paper? Why have only the usual suspects of independent media kept it current? TVUH will look at what there is to fear for the mainstream media.

The 'consultation' started like they meant business, in the spring of 2016. Stakeholders, academics, expert groups and the Commissioners of Information and Privacy gave input. Then a funny thing happened. Bill C-58 hit the floor of the House on First Reading and effectively ignored all of that consultation. As Suzanne Legault neared the end of her term as Information Commissioner, she repeatedly called out C-58 as inadequate and regressive. Her replacement Caroline Maynard has not changed that position in any real effect. Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien has not been a fan of C-58, also using the terms regressive and not helping regarding any current backlogs or deficiencies.

Time allocation, wholesale rejection of a lengthy list of Committee amendments and near invisible passage to the Senate is where we are now. Sunny ways, friends. The Red Chamber seems determined to take this bill apart, calling all the same detractors to tell them about its failures. Will it be sent back to the House with huge amendments? Will the threat of Proroguement kill it and many other bills? Would we be better off where C-58 is concerned?

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