Progressive Conservatives file for review
“NDP government thinks the rules don't apply to them” says d'Entremont
HALIFAX, NS – The NDP government has delayed, for the third time, a request by the PC Caucus for the minutes of the Ships Start Here steering committee meetings. Notice of the delay was sent out late Monday and puts the new deadline at 108 days after the initial request. The PC Caucus office is today filing a review application before Nova Scotia’s Freedom of Information Review Officer, Dulcie McCallum.
• March 12, 2012 - The PC Caucus filed the request for the minutes, expecting the information would be made available by April 12;
• April 11, 2012 - The government informed the PC Caucus they would need an extra 30 days to prepare all of the requested information because “a large number of records is requested and must be searched,” which moved the deadline to May 11;
• May 10, 2012 - A day before the documents were due to arrive, another 18-day delay was requested by the government, to May 28, 2012. The reason for this delay was “more time is needed to consult with third parties before ERDT can decide whether or not to grant access to the requested records.” The third parties likely involved in the Ships Start Here steering committee listed here;
• May 28, 2012 - The government is seeking another 30-day extension bringing the total to 108 days. The reason given is they must consult with the third parties, even though that was the reason for the previous delay.
“The steering committee took less than a month to break tendering rules and spend over $300,000 taxpayers’ dollars and the NDP government is trying to tell us they need three and a half months to produce the minutes of these meetings,” said d’Entremont. “It is unreasonable for them to delay making public the minutes of meetings held over a year ago.”
The Premier initially said his office was not involved in the decision to break tendering rules, but it was later revealed that members of his staff were on the steering committee that made the decision.
The NDP blocked all efforts by opposition members of the Legislature's Public Accounts Committee to ask questions of Premier’s Office officials on the matter.
“It’s clear the NDP are less concerned about being honest with Nova Scotians than they are with covering up the details surrounding how Premier’s Office officials improperly spent $300,000,” said d’Entremont.
d’Entremont pointed out the NDP’s delays on the Ships Start Here minutes are not an isolated incident. The government recently rejected a request to make public the details behind $304 million in loans to Irving Shipbuilding including a significant $260 million forgivable loan.
“The NDP’s sneaky tactics say a lot about the kind of government they are running,” said d’Entremont. “This NDP government thinks the rules don't apply to them.”