Canada a Top-10 country in government transparency, survey says
Forget for a moment about senate scandals, suggestions of whispered offers for back-room deals.
A new survey comparing government transparency in 70 countries says Canada is among the world's most open countries.
The survey, released days before a summit in London on government transparency, ranks countries based on the availability and accessibility of information in 10 areas: government spending, election results, transport timetables, pollution levels, government budget, company register, national statistics, legislation, postcodes and availability of a high level copy of a national map.
The U.K. and U.S. top the 2013 index and are followed by Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands. Cyprus, St Kitts & Nevis, the British Virgin Islands, Kenya and Burkina Faso ranked lowest.
The Open Knowledge Foundation, which released the survey notes, "There are many countries where the governments are less open but that were not assessed because of lack of openness or a sufficiently engaged civil society. This includes 30 countries who are members of the open government partnership. "
Among the best-scoring countries, the U.K. Electoral Commission does not permit the open reuse of election data. The U.S. does not offer an open federal database with corporate registrations.
The biggest negatives for Canada were over government spending. The survey reports data exists in digital forms, but is not publicly available, nor online, free of charge, available in bulk or openly licensed. It's also not up to date, the survey said.
Canada finished slightly behind New Zealand and Sweden in the survey and just ahead of Iceland.
Rick Westhead is a foreign affairs writer at The Star. He was based in India as the Star’s South Asia bureau chief from 2008 until 2011 and reports on international aid and development. Follow him on Twitter @rwesthead