Week of April 24 – April 28, 2021
It was with great excitement last week that I sat in the House of Commons and watched the formal introduction of the Federal Accountability Act. This Act, together with the Action Plan, was a campaign promise during the election and has remained a top priority of the new Government. The Action Plan is about making government more effective and accountable and I would like to take this opportunity to outline some of the main features of the Act with you.
Firstly, the Government will toughen laws governing the financing of political parties and candidates. It will reduce individual donations from $5,000 to $1,000 a year, ban contributions by corporations, unions, and associations, as well as ban secret donations and gifts to political candidates.
Secondly, the Government will introduce stricter rules for lobbying. It will ban contingency fees and prohibit former ministers, ministerial aides, and senior public servants from lobbying for five years after they leave office. In addition, a new Commissioner of Lobbying will have the power to investigate violations and enforce the rules.
Thirdly, the Government will provide real protection for whistleblowers by establishing a Public Sector Integrity Commissioner with the power to enforce the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act. The law will extend to all federal bodies and will protect all Canadians who report government wrongdoing – not just public servants.
Fourthly, the Government will give new powers to the Auditor General so that Parliament and Canadians can more effectively hold the government to account. The Auditor General will have the power to audit individuals and organizations that receive government funding under a funding agreement.
Fifthly, the Government will change access to information legislation to promote a culture of openness and accessibility. It will extend this law to include Crown corporations, Agents of Parliament, and foundations created under federal statute. In addition, the Government will also work towards reforming the Access to Information Act, in collaboration with parliamentarians and Canadians. The objective of the reforms is to make government more open, while balancing legitimate requirements for personal privacy, commercial confidentiality, and national security.
Lastly, the Government will strengthen and streamline its management policies. It will simplify rules and reduce red tape. It will review its procurement and financial management policies, as well as the rules that govern grants and contributions programs.
All of these measures are aimed at fulfilling our Government’s promise to stand up for accountability and to make government more effective. Once accountability has been put in place, public confidence and trust can and will be restored. I will be doing my best to ensure this Act will be passed quickly in the House of Commons. I also look forward to delivering the honest and clean government that Canadians want and deserve. If you have any questions about the Act, please visit www.accountability.gc.ca or contact my Orangeville or Bolton constituency offices.