Friday, April 3, 2009

Censored Uranium Document Sparks Debate at Legislature in Saskatchewan

Bear in mind that Saskatchewan leads the world in uranium exports...

April 2, 2009

Under fire over blacked-out sections of a report, a Saskatchewan cabinet minister says the government has an "overzealous" person censoring freedom of information requests on uranium development — not an unwillingness to be open.

Enterprise and Innovation Minister Lyle Stewart said he doesn't understand why a government document — a request for proposal connected to the Uranium Development Partnership — was so heavily censored before being made public.

"It absolutely sends the wrong message," Stewart said Wednesday. "We've been open as we can be about this whole process from start until now and we will continue to be and so I'm extremely unhappy that some overzealous official in CIC [the Crown Investments Corporation] has caused this problem."

The Opposition NDP has been raising concerns about the document, obtained by a private citizen through a freedom of information request, saying it had big chunks blacked out.

Those sections included details of what the government wanted a panel on uranium development to "deliver" and in what period of time, Opposition leader Lorne Calvert said.

"The questions about timelines, deliverables — these are pretty fundamental things that the taxpayer has a right to know," Calvert said.

The government says it will make public more of the censored documents on Thursday.

It also plans to make public the UDP report on the potential for further development of uranium on Friday. Stewart, who told the legislature the report cost "under $2.5 million" has already promised that none of that report will be censored.

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