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June 14, 2012

Statement by the Honourable Felix Collins, Minister of Justice and Attorney General

The following statement is provided on behalf of the Honourable Felix Collins, Minister of Justice, in relation to a media report on comments by the Centre for Law and Democracy, identified in the news item as an independent expert:

Statements made in the media by the Centre for Law and Democracy leave the wrong impression about access to information legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador. The news story indicated that Newfoundland and Labrador's legislation is weaker than that of Mexico, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Bulgaria, Uganda, Moldova and Guatemala.

The Department of Justice has reviewed the global ranking of countries assembled by the centre. What the news story does not make clear is that most countries that ranked the highest or strongest on this list are third world countries. Many of these countries are listed on travel alert watch lists, have known human rights abuses and high crime rates. Especially interesting to note is that all G8 countries– Canada, the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan – are ranked below the countries named in the media report.

Newfoundland and Labrador has numerous pieces of legislation and provincial strategies, which in combination with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, demonstrate that we are an open, safe and democratic province. It was this government that proclaimed ATIPPA into law. We have numerous officers of the House of Assembly that perform an oversight role – the Auditor General, the Citizens’ Representative, the Child and Youth Advocate, the Chief Electoral Officer and the Information and Privacy Commissioner – all of whom work towards putting in place important protections for the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Media contact:
Vanessa Colman-Sadd
Director of Communications
Department of Justice
709-729-6985, 682-6593

2012 06 14                               11:55 a.m.

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