Liberal secrecy the new status quo says Houston

June 03, 2019 at 8:20 am

Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston condemns the Liberal government for their desperate, hail Mary attempt to continue to hide information that so far, two levels of courts have ruled should be made public.

“The Liberals are so determined to hide information that they use the judicial system to punish anyone who dares to stand up and ask reasonable questions,” Houston said. “On Friday, we learned they have asked the highest court in the country to allow them to keep information secret that two Nova Scotia courts say they must release. There are no limits to Liberal secrecy.”

In 2017, a former government lawyer asked the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to make public the instructions he received from the Liberal government in a controversial case. He said he acted on instructions from the Liberal government. Premier Stephen McNeil and former Minister Diana Whalen implied that the lawyer had either acted without instructions or against instructions. The Supreme Court agreed with the lawyer and ruled that the instructions should be public.

The government appealed that decision, but the Court of Appeal also said the instructions should be public. Now, the Liberals are taking the extraordinary step of appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada rather than doing the right thing and complying with the two rulings.

Two years of legal wrangling have already delayed the release of the information and the Liberals are no doubt now hoping to delay it even longer.

“Time and time again, the Liberals have shown they will go to extreme lengths to hide important information from Nova Scotians,” Houston said. “They no longer even pretend to care about transparency and accountability.”

When private citizen Ronald Neufeld wanted information the Privacy Commissioner said he was entitled to, the Liberals refused. Mr. Neufeld was forced to take the government to court. He won.

When the Privacy Commissioner said the PC Caucus should get information about the taxpayer paid contract between the Province and the operator of the Yarmouth Ferry, the Liberals refused and took the government to court. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this matter is also going before the Court of Appeal.

“The government has more lawyers and more resources than any Nova Scotian,” Houston concluded. “For them to use their might to hide information from Nova Scotians with prolonged legal procedures says a lot about their character. They refuse to just do the right thing.”