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Upcoming Liberal bills to reform Access to Information, national security measures

OTTAWA—The Trudeau government plans to cap the spring sitting of Parliament with long-awaited legislation on Access to Information and national security — bills unlikely to be debated by MPs in a serious way until the fall.With just days left before MPs are slated to retreat to their ridings for the summer, the bills will — at the very least — signal the government’s intention to fulfil key promises.The government had promised an initial wave of changes to the Access to Information Act by the end of winter — what Treasury Board President Scott Brison called “early wins” on overhauling the antiquated law intended to give Canadians access to federal files.The planned amendments included giving the information commissioner the power to order release of government records and ensuring the access law applies to the offices of the prime minister, cabinet members and administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts.Read more: Sunny ways fading as the Liberals hit the halfway mark in their mandate: HébertArticle Continued BelowThe pledge was considered an essential plank of the government platform on transparency designed to differentiate the Trudeau Liberals from Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, who broke 2006 campaign promises to modernize the access law.In March, Brison’s office cited the complex nature of the task in delaying the Liberal plans.The bill to be introduced Monday by Brison, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould could be the first substantial set of amendments to the access law in 34 years. The government has also promised a full review of the law by 2018, and mandatory reviews every five years thereafter.

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