Since November 2015 when Justin Trudeau became the Prime Minister of Canada, he has made transparency a thing of the past. Canada has a Privy Council which keeps documents and orders in a database.
They can be found on the website which is accessible by the public and government officials. But amongst these documents, you will not find nearly 8,900 Orders-In-Council (OIC) due to the secrecy surrounding the documents.
They range from stopping foreign companies from buying Canadian businesses to who is authorised to give the order to shoot down a commercial airliner hijacked by terrorists. These are considered secret OIC.
Since November 2015, there have been 72 secret OIC documents implemented. The reasons also behind exempting the public from knowing what they contain are for national security, military operations, and security reviews of proposed foreign investments in Canadian companies.
Some of these OIC are under the Investment Canada Act. In the period between November 2015 and March 2021, 31 OIC were placed under this Act. 55 in total during this period. From March 31, 2021, to the present day, 17 secret OIC have been adopted.
The Privy Council has refused to release at least two of the OIC, citing federal access to information law that allows the government to keep secret documents, which “could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the conduct of international affairs, the defence of Canada, or the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities.”
The 1st OIC was issued between January 28th and February 1st, 2022. Around the same time as the Canada convoy. The 2nd OIC was issued on February 18th, 2022, just as the Ukraine-Russia conflict began. The Privy Council has refused to reveal any details about the OIC or its subjects.
By May 6th, 2022, 4 more OIC secret documents had been added. 1 of these was published, with Russian individuals and entities added to the sanction list. Between March and May 2022, 5 more were added.
A spokesperson for the Privy Council Office Pierre-Alain Bujold made a statement.
“The number of orders that either are or are not, published in any given year is not a proxy measure for transparency of government.
That is because the legislative, socio-economic, and national security context evolves and changes significantly year over year.”
With only 4 members of the cabinet needed to sign off on the documents, it goes to the Governor-General who then signs them, and they are placed in a separate room which is supposedly an electronic and wireless room.
This amount of power and lack of transparency does not sit well with a democratic society. It has come to the attention of quite a few politicians who are wondering if the Trudeau government believes in its own political statements made to the people back in 2015 about how it would be an ‘honest and transparent’ government.