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Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Rudd defends changes to Access to Information Act

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

NORTHUMBERLAND -- On Tuesday of this week, Federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault announced she had concerns about the proposed update of the Access to Information Act.

The same day, local riding MP Kim Rudd said in the House of Commons that the access act amendments will "provide the openness and accountability Canadians expect "¦ and greater transparency."

Rudd said there would be a "maximizing" of the release of government information and data through the updated approach of the proposed legislation that would be "open by default" and that "citizens should not have to make the case for why they deserve information from the government."

But despite Rudd's support, Legault is promising a special report to Parliament outlining her problems with the access act update that was introduced by MP Scott Brison this past June

It must still go to committee following second reading, she stress in an e-mail interview.

"Bill C-58 represents the most substantive updates to Canada's Access to Information Act in 34 years, when the ATIA was last updated by the government of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau more information being accessed by Canadians"¦(It) will now affect 240 government organizations, up from approximately 150 that are, to my knowledge, currently subjected to Freedom of Information, Rudd continued, describing herself as a supporter" of Brison's work on the update to the "antiquated" system.

Until the clause-by-clause committee deliberations are held, Rudd said she could not "discuss specific mechanics."

A Canadian Press report states that under the proposed legislative update, the information commissioner could order the release of records and require parliamentary institutions, MPs, senators and the office of the Prime Minister to "regularly release" certain types of records, such as hospitality and travel expenses, and contract information.