Ask any journalist who covers the federal government and they will tell you in the past five years it has become increasingly more difficult to get information out of the federal government.
Speak to many people who work in communications jobs for the government (on the department side, not for ministers) and they could tell you of their frustrations trying to answer questions.
Basically almost no communication can occur with a reporter without approval by either the Prime Minister's Office or the Privy Council Office.
Including even basic requests. I had one government spokesperson tell me a simple request for a copy of a press release that had been sent out that morning took several hours to fulfill because the spokesperson had to go all the way up the chain of command for approval. And this was for a press release that had already been made public.
On the weekend the Ottawa Citizen ran a very informative story.
about the breakdown of communications following the earthquake which hit Ottawa June 23.
The problems with the main earthquake website going down within minutes is a whole other ball of wax. The fact that the government of Canada was getting its information about the epicenter and severity of the earthquake from Canadian media who were reporting U.S. data is ridiculous.
The complaints from spokespeople that they weren't allowed to answer media questions until granted approval by the PCO puts a very disturbing sign on this government's communication policies.
It's one thing for a government to decide to control its message to the nth degree when you're dealing with political issues and policy decisions.
It's an entirely different matter when it's a matter of critical information in a possible life and death situation. Thankfully the Ottawa earthquake ended up being minor in the grand scheme of things. Damages were minimal and nobody was killed. But nobody knew that at the time and it will not always be the case.