OTTAWA – In the wake of the minister of heritage's visit to Library and Archives, New Democrats have asked the information commissioner to investigate the government's Code of Conduct at Library and Archives, in the context of her ongoing investigation into the muzzling of federal government scientists and experts.
MPs Pierre Nantel (Longueuil--Pierre-Boucher), Charlie Angus (Timmins—James-Bay), Andrew Cash (Davenport) and Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La-Petite-Patrie) have made their request through a letter to the commissioner.
In their request, the Official Opposition critics for Heritage and for Ethics express their concern that the government is seeking to stop Library and Archives professionals and experts "from communicating about their work and their research with the public, particularly when their work may be seen to contravene the government's political agenda or embarrass the government."
The Code of Conduct forbids its employees, professionals and experts from speaking in public, or from attending a conference (even on their own behalf) without authorization. It warns LAC employees against "remarks that embarrass, criticize or otherwise comment on the actions of the Government" and "its elected officials".
The Code of Conduct appears to be similar to communication policies under investigation by the information commissioner since February 2012, according to the NDP MPs. Communication policies in 7 federal institutions, "impeding the right of access to information under the Act", are currently being investigated by the commissioner.