Journalists come across head scratching situations all the time.
But some days are worse than others.
Take the fact that until this week Transport Canada refused to release the contingency plan for when the Confederation Bridge is shut down for a considerable length of time.
It took an access to information request by CBC to pry the plan out of the bowels of the federal bureaucracy.
Where is the logic in this?
Islanders have a right to know these things. That report should be plastered all over the Confederation Bridge website for the world to read.
That would be the equivalent of saying “Hey everybody, if something really bad happens we don’t have to panic, because look, we got a plan and it’s a good one.”
Withholding the plan from the public is like saying ”Hey everybody, if something really bad happens – mind your own business. Move along, nothing to see here.”
It boggles the mind that any agency in this day and age would ask the public to follow them blindly.
In a perfect world, all government agencies and departments should post information publically as soon as it’s compiled.
Let the public look at it at the same time as the government.
Granted, sometimes this is the case – but not usually.
For example: the provincial mental health and addictions services review. It was finally release in mid 2013 after sitting in government hands for weeks.
By the time it was released, government had come up with various plans to help deal with the problems outlined within.
It’s easy to see why they did that. They wanted to downplay the inevitable partisan bash-fest that was sure to have followed the release of the information.
But that’s not how the system is supposed to work.
Government should not have the right to decide when or if our information gets released.
Successive governments of all political stripes have been accorded this privilege for ages, simply because that’s the way its always been.
We say it’s time to change that outdated way of thinking.
Increase the flow of information to the public. Give our democracy a shot in the arm. We will all be better off for it.
Democracies have leaders, not rulers.