Memo on political involvement in freedom of info searches not acted on: Alberta

A provincial spokeswoman says a government-wide memo directing political involvement in freedom-of-information requests never took root.

EDMONTON — A provincial spokeswoman says a government-wide memo directing political involvement in freedom-of-information requests never took root.

Kathleen Range of Service Alberta says she doesn’t know why the directive from former deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk wasn’t followed.

Lukaszuk, who is now jobs minister, sent a memo last fall directing cabinet ministers to send to him updates on freedom-of-information documents they were releasing.

He also directed that politically appointed press secretaries get involved and take steps to mitigate harmful publicity when information was released.

Lukaszuk says he didn’t intend to intervene in what is supposed to be an independent process, but rather wanted to keep everyone apprised of what was coming up.

Freedom-of-information searches are used by journalists, citizens and politicians to get sensitive information and are viewed as valuable tools to hold the government accountable.

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