McNeil gives former Liberal leader $13K a month in professional fees

March 16, 2017 at 9:17 am

In 2015, Graham’s organization spent $566,692. Of that, $444,564 was from taxpayers.

Premier Stephen McNeil signed a contract to pay former Liberal leader Danny Graham over $13,000 a month in professional fees in the first quarter of 2016.

Documents obtained through a freedom of information request show McNeil’s Liberal government has continued to extend funding for the former Liberal leader’s organization, Engage Nova Scotia. The $13,584 Graham was paid works out to be an annual salary of over $160,000 per year.

Premier McNeil’s signature on the 2014 contract to provide funding to Engage Nova Scotia

The contract, signed by Premier McNeil in 2014 and amended in 2015, gave $200,000 to Graham’s Engage Nova Scotia, with up to $200,000 to match donations. Danny Graham serves as the organization’s “Chief Engagement Officer”.

The organization, Engage Nova Scotia, describes its mandate as “[playing] a leadership and support role in engaging citizens and carrying out ongoing engagement activities, with the goal of more people stepping up to address our economic, social, cultural, and environmental challenges and opportunities.”

Stephen McNeil has faced a litany of accusations over inappropriate hiring practices. Shortly after the 2013 election, former Liberal candidate Glennie Langille was hired for a government position that pays approximately $85,000 per year. Documents later revealed that Langille had email exchanges with the Premier’s Chief of Staff, Kirby McVicar, about “benefits and other transitions” regarding the job, despite not having received a job description.

Last summer, Premier McNeil came under fire after it was revealed former Chronicle Herald columnist Marilla Stephenson “was consulted on the wording of a job description for a position that she ultimately won.