After an appallingly inaccurate CP report on Parliamentary secrecy a couple of montsh ago, Sixth Estate began tracking the amount of time that Parliamentary committees spend in camera, meaning in secret, under the Harper regime. The Open Government Project page shows that Harper’s Parliament allows committees to meet in secret significantly more often than they did under the Liberals — over the past year, around 26% of committee meeting time was behind closed doors.
June saw a significant spike in time spent in secret, up to 47% of all committee meeting time. In part this was a regular function of Parliamentary procedure: many committees are finishing up reports now, and report drafting is one phase which is traditionally conducted in secret. Here’s how Parliamentary secrecy stacks up over the (so far) 14 months of Harper majority government:
Over the past year, two standing committees have spent more than half of all meeting time behind closed doors, away from democratic public scrutiny: the Public Accounts Committee, and the Procedure and House Affairs Committee. The Environment, Ethics, Veterans Affairs, Health, Industry, and Status of Women committees have all met over 30% of their time in secret.
In contrast, only three standing committees apparently feel that more than 90% of their business should be visible to the people who elected their members: the Justice Committee (1.9% of time spent in secret), the Transport Committee (6.5%), and the Aboriginal Affairs Committee (9.9%).Tweet