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not all is equal. what choice will you make?

CBC gives me a great Access to Information idea

Alykhan July 8, 2011

CBC’s Janyce McGregor mixes tu quoque and obsession with process in her post on and me. Apparently, she’s unhappy that I filed an Access to Information request seeking disclosure from the government bureaucrat who was lobbied 28 times by the same two anti-oilsands lobbyists.

I am unmoved by Janyce McGregor’s complaint. So, it appears, is one of her colleagues from the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

But out of lemons, lemonade!

Please consider making a $5, $10 or $15 donation via Paypal so I can make the following Access to Information requests to the CBC, which, as a Crown Corporation, is covered by the Act.

1- Provide copies of all documents, including memos, style guides, correspondence, media lines, talking points, directives, e-mails, etc regarding the CBC usage of “oil sands” and “tarsands” (or “oilsands” and “tarsands”)

2- Provide a list of all meetings between CBC/Radio-Canada employees and the following groups, as well as copies of all documents, including memos, directives, correspondence, e-mails, pins, BBMs, text messages, etc regarding CBC employee activities and relations with them: Greenpeace, Climate Action, Environmental Defence, David Suzuki Foundation, Pembina. This includes any CBC employee who is a director of any of these organisations, the nature of the directorship, any disclosures made to CBC about the directorship, and any discussions within CBC about it

3- Provide copies of all complaints received by CBC regarding its coverage of the oilsands, including its use of the term “tar sands” (or “tarsands”)

Janyce McGregor may critique my Access to Information strategy because my requests are very broad as opposed to narrowly-focused. Frankly, I see broad requests as a feature, not a bug. Casting one’s net wide in Access to Information requests is the best way to ensure that ALL interesting information is included.

You should know that CBC has a history of imposing very high search costs on requestors under the Act, and has in fact been singled out by the Information Commissioner for its abysmal record on complying with Access to Information laws. Parenthetically, when I worked at Immigration Canada, I introduced via e-mail the CBC’s head of government relations with Immigration Canada’s fantastic Access to Information Director to help the CBC learn how to comply with Parliament’s Access to Information legislation. This is because, just as CBC was being criticised for its failure to abide by the Act, Immigration Canada was being praised by the Information Commissioner for its “commitment to transparency and open government”, and given an ‘A’ for Access to Information. Unfortunately, CBC’s head of government relations responded curtly to what I thought was a generous offer to share best practices.

Please consider making a small donation to help make these Access to Information requests to the CBC. Email me at if you have ideas for others. All surplus funds raised will go towards building a more interactive website and creating a few Youtube ads we can try to get on TV. I will have some exciting updates on that effort in the coming weeks.

Comments (3)

  1. HAHAHAHA. How many decades do you think it will it take CBC’s ATI division to respond?

  2. Why not ask about CBC letting Andrew Nikiforuk report as a correspondent from a green conference Europe even though anti oil sands activists had paid for his trip? Theres bound to be tons of documents to uncover

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