As opposition leader, [Stephen Harper] wrote in the in the year before he came to power: 'Information is the lifeblood of a democracy. Without adequate access to key information about government policies and programs, citizens and parliamentarians cannot make informed decisions and incompetent or corrupt governments can be hidden under a cloak of secrecy.'When he became prime minister, his attitude appeared to undergo a shift of considerable proportions. It often took the Conservatives twice as long as previous governments to handle access requests. Sometimes it took six months to a year.
Bill C-9 was supposed to be a budget bill, but it came with innumerable measures that had little or nothing to do with the nation's finances. It was, as critics put it, the advance of the Harper agenda by stealth, yet another abuse of the democratic process. The bill was a behemoth. It was 904 pages, with 23 separate sections and 2,208 individual clauses....As a Reform MP, [Stephen Harper] .... said of one piece of legislation that 'the subject matter of the bill is so diverse that a single vote on the content would put members in conflict with their own principles.' The bill he referred to was 21 page long -- or 883 pages shorter than the one he was now putting before Parliament.