Well, it is certainly not every day that a rather dry piece of complex government legislation leads to such a major outburst of public outcry. Bill 29, an Act to amend the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, did just that, here in Newfoundland.
Governments world-wide have been challenged with public scrutiny over trust and integrity issues. the terms Transparent and Accountable are ones we often here government preach, yet fail to do as they say. While many of the amendments to the ATIPP Act are good, there are a few changes that certainly appear to allow Government to become more secret with their work, and this may open the door to allow potential corruption to be hidden from public view.
Even worse, appears to be an abuse of power by nature of immoral use of the political process. As no standing committees exist, the Government has litertally tabled a bill out of the blue and insisted that they will ram it through the House - notwithstanding a mandatory 3rd reading committee discussion, which they could and did shut down when they felt it benefitial for them politically.
The tabling of this bill found government facing scrutiny from international access and privacy experts, opposition parties, the media, and concerned citizens from all political stripes - including some of their own.
Yesterday, a protest was held to raise further public awareness to this controversial bill, as well as to express public outrage and disgust. the event took place on the steps of Confederation Building in capital city St. John's, Newfoundland. It was organized by non-profit group Occupy NL - a movement that voices concern over Government and corporate control of society. All major media outlets appear to cover the story, including VOCM, CBC, and the Telegram.
Speakers included reps from the Occupy NL, the provincial NDP Party, the Council of Canadians, and the Newfoundland Patient Association for Transsexual Health (former ATIPPA analyst - yours truly). Also present at the rally were student union reps, local musicians, and sympathizers of the quebec student tuition protest movement.
Later in the day, I was invited into CHMR 93.5 FM radio for a live in-studio chat about the Bill and the protest. The interview lasted 20 minutes long. A video of this interview, as it happened live, can be viewed here.
A video of the speech I delivered at the protest can be viewed at this link here. Forward to 3.30 to see my piece.
In the week that was, I also had an opportunity to do media during the amazing filibuster debate.
Here's me commenting on NTV news, and here's CBC's coverage of the protest - with me on the megaphone in the background.
From a personal perspective, I am elated to finally gain mainstream recognition from society and media for being a credible subject matter expert on something other than transsexualism. I feel my public profile in terms of respect and credibility grew substantially today.