Share and share alike

11 Jan

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, speaking to Parliamentary reporters on behalf of The Harper Government, today reiterated the administration’s unequivocal commitment to full and open transparency.

“I needn’t remind members of the media how easy it is to make promises and then not keep them. We see egregious examples of such unacceptable behaviour every day,” she said.

Her verbatim statement continued as follows:

“Prime Minister Harper wanted to deliver this message himself, but as you know he is tied up with a minor First Nations matter today. It falls to me then, to announce a new initiative of The Harper Government to release even more data into the public domain.”

“It is with great pride that I announce the liberation of data on more than 583,000 Canada Student Loan borrowers. This is more than ten times the data released in our November pilot project.* The new data encompass matters such as dates of birth, contact information, loan balances and, of course, social insurance numbers. While the actual release of the data occurred some two months ago, we thought it best to delay this announcement until the information was in the hands of as many potential users as possible.”

“We realize people may wish to know if any of their personal data is now in the wild. To find out, please call our toll-free number (1-866-885-1866). It may be working as early as Monday, depending on how many staff we still have in that department.”

“I would remind you, and indeed all Canadians, that no one asked for this data. This was, and should be understood as, a proactive response to the requests of many citizens’ and, indeed, yourselves, for better access to information in our Government’s hands. Our policy is simple: Canadians paid to collect this data in the first place and their access to it should not be restricted for reasons of petty bureaucracy.”

“Thank you all for coming today. In the weeks and months ahead, I am positive we will have many similar stories to share with you and our fellow Canadians.”
*Minister Finley refers to the release documented in “Be it resolved”, which was posted on this site on December 30th.

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