Conservative MP’s private members bill could lead to a federal sunshine list

On Thursday, for the 17th straight year, Ontarians received a full accounting of the salaries of each and every individual in the public service who makes over $100,000/year.

There are now 88,412 provincial and civic employees that make over $100k.

Yahoo!'s Matthew Coutts does a great job explaining the so-called 'sunshine list' here.

[ Related: Ontario’s ‘Sunshine List’ grows as nearly 9,000 more public workers make above $100K ]

Why don't we have a federal sunshine list — you ask?

Well, thanks to a private members bill by Conservative back-bencher Brent Rathgeber, we might soon have one.

On Wednesday, Parliament passed second reading of Bill C-461The CBC and
Public Service Disclosure and Transparency Act.

If the Bill is adopted, as is, the salaries and expenses of all federal public service workers who make over $188,000 would be subject to access to information requests.

As explained by Sun News, the bill would also scrap a section of the Access to Information and Privacy Act, which allows CBC management to not release documents that "relate to its journalistic, creative or programming activities."

In late 2011, Rathgeber submitted an order paper in the House of Commons asking for the salaries of CBC personalities such as Peter Mansbridge and Rick Mercer. Unfortunately, he was thwarted in his attempts.

"Taxpayers rightfully are entitled to know how their tax dollars are being spent," Rathgeber told the House last month.

"In that regard, many provinces have established the so-called sunshine lists, which are publicly disclosed lists shining the sun on salaries, perks and benefits paid to government executives, directors and managers. Members may know that Ontario led the way with respect to such financial disclosure.

"My bill does not call for a website, but by mandating or at least allowing disclosure pursuant to access requests, the public will serve as a critical check on government expenditures and an effective deterrent to any government official tempted to treat taxpayers disrespectfully."

British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia also have sunshine lists.

[ Related: Bill forcing First Nations chiefs to disclose salaries becomes law ]

Gregory Thomas of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says that they strongly support the bill.

"It's all taxpayer money on these salaries. We've learned from places that put out a list like this...the public taxpayers get an idea of how they're monies being spent," he told Yahoo! Canada News.

"In a lot of cases, it's a lot of money. It's adds a reality check we have over how much government employees get paid."

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