No way, he said.
The law is a delicate instrument and the proposed changes from then-information commissioner John Reid would require extensive consultation or widen the mission of the Access to Information Act. Instead, the government proposes to continue its review of policies and roles in implementing them.
As a frequent user and critic of the act, I do not feel professionally bound to restrain my observation of the government's response today. One would hope it is out of step with public expectations and information practices (although there are not placards and protests calling for more public records).
A more cynical observer would suggest that, like all governments before it, this one prefers a tight lid on information taxpayers have financed to avoid substantial scrutiny of policies and functions. Its only effort to change the law has been minor in nature to add some Crown corporations and parliamentary administrative records to the institutions subject to it.
The law was created in 1983, before the Internet, before even Post-It Notes. Since its inception, significant reform has come but once, in the wake of the 9/11 security fears, when it was made even more restrictive. The electronic production (and destruction) of records has proceeded relatively unfettered.
The law has never been a reporter's true friend. It is a better tool of history than of journalism. It is cumbersome and costly to use, and there are hundreds of exemptions to withhold from release material that ought to be in the public realm.
But reporters are not entirely blameless, either. Very few press governments for the release of records. Of the universe of applicants, journalists comprise less than 15 per cent.
Organizations like the Canadian Newspaper Association, the Canadian Association of Journalists and many media companies have sought a stronger legal culture to permit greater access to information.
In the changing environment of newsrooms, there remains a strong need for unique material. The information laws can be large enablers of exclusive content. But today the federal government kept the door closed to any open-sourced approach on record-keeping.