The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Though it will likely be lost on the mainstream consciousness amid a far sexier debate on satellite TV piracy, the Canadian Cable Television Association's (CCTA) call for recorded votes at the CRTC deserves kudos. The cable association recognizes what Decima Publishing and others have also been frustrated by: excessive secrecy within government and government agencies and bodies.The CCTA's call comes at the same time as Canadian NEW MEDIA is frustrated in its attempts to ferret out information about the Canadian Culture Online Program and its agreements with the Treasury Board, and as Cabinet secrecy has leapt to the fore of daily headlines.Secrecy is not good or bad, but a tool that can be used in a democratic society to further the public interest. Obviously, we in the media will always argue for disclosure - sometimes the information we seek simply isn't our business, and sometimes disclosure could have serious consequences. The litmus test, however, must be whether those disclosure consequences outweigh potential damage to the public interest.Much of the current secrecy at the federal government level is not intended to keep our JTF2 troops safe in Kandahar, but to shield public figures from embarrassment or from too-great public accountability. There can be no public interest argument to defend secret votes at the CRTC or backroom program funding agreements worth hundreds of millions of dollars kept from public view.To be fair, not all government departments subscribe to the paranoia of the CRTC or Canadian Heritage. For example, Industry Canada's spectrum regulators have always been friends to the media, and Decima Publishing's wireless telecom publication has always been a hotbed of debate and informed dialog as a result. But too many departments and bureaucrats live in fear of censure from their political masters for making public the routine functions of government.Accountability will be an issue in the next federal election. Canadians have notoriously short electoral memories, and now is the time to open up the workings of government in order to make it a positive plank in the Liberal platform as opposed to a vulnerability.We wish the CCTA well in its push to make the CRTC more transparent and accountable.