Peterson-Rafuse broke the law and should resign, or be fired by Premier
April 26, 2012
For immediate release
HALIFAX, NS – Today in the Legislature, Progressive Conservatives demanded the resignation of the NDP’s Minister of Community Services for breaking Nova Scotia’s privacy laws.
The NDP’s Community Services Minister, Denise Peterson-Rafuse, has a confidential report, Talbot House Organizational Review, available on a government website for anyone to view. The report contains allegations against the Talbot House’s Executive Director that were discredited and not pursued by police. The Department of Community Services was aware of that when they published the report.
Two sections of the FOIPOP Act read:
DISCLOSURE HARMFUL TO PERSONAL PRIVACY – Personal Information
20 (1) The head of a public body shall refuse to disclose personal information to an applicant if the disclosure would be an unreasonable invasion of a third party's personal privacy.
(2) In determining pursuant to subsection (1) or (3) whether a disclosure of personal information constitutes an unreasonable invasion of a third party's personal privacy, the head of a public body shall consider all the relevant circumstances, including whether
FOIPOP 20 (2) (g) the personal information is likely to be inaccurate or unreliable;
FOIPOP 20 (2)(h) the disclosure may unfairly damage the reputation of any person referred to in the record requested by the applicant.
“The NDP’s Community Services Minister has shown time and time again that she lacks the judgment to properly carry out her responsibilities as a Minister, but this time, she broke the law,” said PC House Leader Chris d’Entremont. “She made a report public that contained unsubstantiated information and allegations, and as a result, smeared a man’s reputation. It’s unacceptable. She must resign.”
Cape Breton MLA Keith Bain said the Minister’s mistakes have damaged a man’s reputation and in the case of the East Preston Daycare, put children in harm’s way.
“The Minister should do the right thing and resign. If she won’t, the Premier needs to step up and fire her,” said Bain. “By keeping her in cabinet, the Premier is not only accepting her actions but he’s condoning a member of his cabinet breaking the laws of Nova Scotia.”
The Minister has steadfastly refused to apologize for her actions relating to Talbot House and the East Preston Daycare and she has refused to clarify contradictory remarks she made on funding for private daycares that have upset daycare owners across Nova Scotia.
April 1991: Ontario’s Health Minister resigned after breaching the privacy of a man’s medical records.
October 2005: New Brunswick’s Family and Community Services Minister resigned after he released the name of a ward of the province to the media.
February 2010: New Brunswick’s Minister of Justice resigned amid allegations he broke the law, and violated the privacy rights of a New Brunswick woman.
March 2012: British Columbia’s Minister of State for Multiculturalism resigned when he inappropriately shared government correspondence with a private company.
The Talbot House Organizational Review is online here: http://novascotia.ca/coms/noteworthy/TalbotHouse.html
On Page 3:
This report is for the use of the Board and is submitted to Talbot House in confidence.
This report includes recommended areas for improvement in the management and operations of Talbot House. The report contains confidential and identifiable personal information. Disclosure of this review by the Department of Community Services is governed by the provisions of the Nova Scotia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
It is strongly recommended that the Board of Talbot House consult with legal counsel before disclosing this report beyond the intended audience, or making any use of the report or its contents other than for the purpose outlined above.