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As a new Information Commissioner pays tribute to his predecessors, and looks towards the horizon seven years away, what is most striking is the awesome responsibility to safeguard that essential building block of democratic freedom - the ability of citizens, as of right, to obtain access to government-held records. Throughout the world, the lesson of history is consistent: Openness is the oxygen of democracy because, to mix a metaphor, sunshine is the best disinfectant. Courageous parliamentarians and governments fought for and gave Canadians the Access to Information Act. The challenge is to make a good law better and help our excellent public officials become even more comfortable with ever increasing degrees of transparency.
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