My name is Charles and I am the newest volunteer for the Nova Scotia Right to Know Coalition, a non-profit legal advocacy organization that campaigns for improved access to information, open government and transparency within Nova Scotia’s municipal and provincial governments, and abroad.
My interest in the Right to Know Coalition centres on our work mobilizing different civil society groups to be vocal about their limited access to public information. Proper citizen engagement in a modern democratic system is dependent on the open flow of information. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. But Canadian governments at the municipal, provincial and federal level continue to treat transparency and good governance as a low priority.
The biggest threats to 21st century democracy are political corruption and negligent governance. While it would be nice to pretend Canada is not vulnerable to these threats, the truth is that it happens here as it does everywhere. The most effective way to resist nepotism and conflicts of interest is by establishing an open and transparent government that encourages open access to public information.
Nova Scotia desperately needs to improve its access to information system. I am happy to be volunteering for the Right to Know Coalition because we collaborate with other NGOs and citizens to work towards this goal. The Right to Know Coalition is always looking for new allies in the struggle for transparency and open government.
Trying to change the structure of governments to be more open and transparent, and thus more democratic, often seems like a massive undertaking. However, it is important to remember that major changes often start with small steps. The Right to Know Coalition advocates for major policy shifts, but also devotes resources to assisting requesters and community groups seeking transparency. We are a grassroots organization that believes in moving forward together, with our partners in Halifax, in Nova Scotia, and across the country. Change starts here. Get involved!