Brokering Access

Power, Politics and Fredom of Information Process in Canada

Edited by Mike Larsen and Kevin Walby

  • Published: 2012. Paperback 2013
  • Subject Listing: Politics
  • Bibliographic information: 400 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

Access to information (ATI) is widely regarded as a fundamental democratic right. Yet in Canada there still exists a struggle between the public's quest for accountability and the government's culture of secrecy. Drawing together the perspectives of social scientists, journalists, and ATI advocates, Brokering Access explores the policies and practices surrounding access to information at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels. This groundbreaking volume is the first of its kind to promote the idea that ATI should be used as a critical research strategy. It is a vital resource for scholars, policy makers, journalists, and anyone who is concerned about access to information and its effect on all Canadians.
Mike Larsen is an instructor in the CriminologyDepartment of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. KevinWalby is an assistant professor of sociology at the Universityof Victoria.Contributors: Reem Bahdi, Jim Bronskill, AnnCavoukian, Tia Dafnos, Willem de Lint, Gary Dickson, Yavar Hameed,Steve Hewitt, Sean P. Hier, Suzanne Legault, David McKie, JeffreyMonaghan, Justin Piché, Jim Rankin, Ann Rees, Fred Vallance-Jones, andMatthew G. Yeager

"An important and valuable volume, Brokering Access should be read not only by academics, journalists, and activists, but also by political and bureaucratic actors who are entrusted with interpreting and applying the access laws at the national and provincial level."
-Paul G. Thomas, professor emeritus, University of Manitoba

"When freedom of information can be obstructed under false claims of national security, we all need to ask ourselves, how does this reflect upon the nature of our democracy? It is frustrating that books like this one still need to be published. But the fact that they are being published, and they are being read - and I would strongly encourage all Canadians to read this one - is a good sign."
-Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner for the Province of Ontario

Foreword / Ann Cavoukian

Introduction: On the Politics of Access to Information / MikeLarsen and Kevin Walby

Part 1: Access to Information, Past and Present

1 Sustaining Secrecy: Executive Branch Resistance to Access toInformation in Canada / Ann Rees

2 Access Regimes: Provincial Freedom of Information Law acrossCanada / Gary Dickson

Part 2: Behind Closed Doors - Security and InformationControl

3 Flying the Secret Skies: Difficulties in Obtaining Data onCanadian Airport Security Screening Tests Following 9/11 / JimBronskill

4 Access to Information in an Age of IntelligencizedGovernmentality / Willem de Lint and Reem Bahdi

5 Accessing Dirty Data: Methodological Strategies for SocialProblems Research / Yavar Hameed and Jeff Monaghan

Part 3: Access to Information and Critical ResearchStrategies

6 The Freedom of Information Act as a Methodological Tool: Suing theGovernment for Data / Matthew G. Yeager

7 "He who controls the present, controls the past": TheCanadian Security State's Imperfect Censorship under the Accessto Information Act / Steve Hewitt

8 Behind the Blue Line: Using ATI in Researching the Policing ofAboriginal Activism / Tia Dafnos

9 Accessing the State of Imprisonment in Canada: InformationBarriers and Negotiation Strategies
/ Justin Piché

10 Accessing Information on Streetscape Video Surveillance in Canada/ Sean P. Hier

Part 4: Dispatches from the Fourth Estate - Access toInformation and Investigative Journalism

11 Access, Administration, and Democratic Intent / FredVallance-Jones

12 Access to Information: The Frustrations - and the Hope /David McKie

13 The Quest for Electronic Data: Where Alice Meets Monty PythonMeets Colonel Jessep / Jim Rankin

Postscript / Suzanne Legault