Information and the Currency of Democracy
From: Laws of Government, 2/e
This chapter has a dual focus. The first is transparency in government, specifically, mechanisms ensuring that what government does is readily ascertainable not only by parliamentarians, but also by the general public. The second is a related issue: strictures on how much government may know about the private, personal information of the public.
The importance of these issues to democratic accountability should not be underestimated. Access to information contributes significantly to the ability of the citizenry as a whole to hold government answerable, while limitations on government use of personal information are a vital component of limited government in a liberal democracy.
Craig Forcese is an Associate Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. There, he teaches administrative law, public international law, and national security law and runs the annual foreign policy practicum. Much of his present research and writing relates to democratic accountability, national security, and international law. Prior to joining the law school faculty, he practiced law with the Washington D.C. office of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, specializing in international trade law. Craig has law degrees from the University of Ottawa and Yale University, a B.A. from McGill, and an M.A. in international affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University. He is a member of the bars of Ontario, New York and the District of Columbia. He is author of National Security Law (Irwin Law, 2008) and co-author of The Laws of Government, Second Edition (Irwin Law 2010) and International Law: Doctrine, Practice and Theory (Irwin Law, 2007).
Aaron Freeman is a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Premier of Ontario. For 10 years, he wrote a regular column in The Hill Times, Canada's parliamentary newspaper, and his work often appeared in Canada's leading newspapers and publications. He has provided policy and communications advice to organizations in the health, consumer, environmental, democratic reform, human rights, and international development sectors. Aaron is a part-time faculty member of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, where he has taught the law of Canadian democracy. He is a graduate of McGill University and the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, where he was awarded the Gowling Lafleur Henderson Prize for International Trade Law.