PC House Leader Chris d’Entremont introduced two bills today that would prevent the McNeil Liberals from improperly keeping information secret from Nova Scotians.
The first bill makes the Freedom of Information Commissioner an Officer of the Legislature and gives her the authority to compel the government to follow her recommendations. The second bill requires the government to notify people when their personal information has been compromised.
“Nova Scotians should be able to trust their government to protect their private information,” says d’Entremont. “This government has been severely lacking in transparency for too long and we intend to put a stop to it.”
Without the authority to compel the production of documents, the Liberal government can ignore the recommendations of the FOIPOP Commissioner. The FOIPOP Commissioner Independence Act makes the Freedom of Information Commissioner an Officer of the Legislature and gives her the authority to compel the government to follow her recommendations.
“Our FOIPOP Commissioner needs to be able to do her job- not be blocked when the government doesn’t want to provide Nova Scotians with information they are entitled to,” says d’Entremont. “If this government has nothing to hide, they can start by supporting us in these bills.”
In 2014, the PC Caucus submitted a FOIPOP request seeking information about the cancellation of Phase 3 of the Riverview Adult Residential Facility in Pictou. This “freedom of information” record came in the form of a heavily redacted record. This May, the FOIPOP Commissioner recommended the information be released but the Department of Community Services chose to keep information redacted. The government promised to provide some information in 30 days, but they have not followed through on that commitment.
“If it was up to the Minister and the Premier, Nova Scotians would never know when something went wrong,” says d’Entremont. “The Official Opposition is committed to protecting Nova Scotians and their personal information- I truly hope this government feels the same.”
Copies of both Bills can be found on the Nova Scotia Legislature website