The Telegram on Thursday ran the following "clarification" (hyperlinks added):
A page A1 story in The Telegram March 17, "Hands tied by Bill 29," suggested the government will not be able to make the findings of its Muskrat Falls project oversight committee public, since Bill 29 - the access to information law - prohibits the public release of reports prepared for cabinet. In fact, interim Premier Tom Marshall has since clarified that the access to information law allows the public release of reports prepared for cabinet, provided they have not been requested through the formal information request process first - a quirk of the access law. For further explanation, see the latest blog post from The Telegram's political reporter, James McLeod http://www.thetelegram.com/Blog-Article/b/25893/My-mistake.Slight problem:
The "clarification" actually introduces errors of its own.
Take this hypothetical: "James" applies for document XYZ under the Access to Information Act. The ATI co-ordinator denies James access under the Act, because of s. 18 of the Act, which was enacted as part of the paranoid, secretive PC government's Bill 29 in 2012.
Does the fact that James has applied for document XYZ preclude government from releasing it, ex gratia, of their own meer motion, to Mary?
No, it does not.
Does the fact that James has applied for document XYZ preclude government from releasing it, ex gratia, of their own meer motion, to James himself?
No, it does not.
Good luck getting government to do so. But the fact that the document has been requested, does not inoculate it from being released, other than to that requester and pursuant to the request made under the Act.
Never mind that's what the government has spent the past two years wanting you to believe. Never mind that they apply the supposed "principles" of the Act, including the Bill 29 provisions, to things other than the Access to Information requests that the Act governs.
Subject to the Protection of Privacy portions of the Act, the government can release just about any record it chooses to.
It just doesn't so choose.