HALIFAX, NS – Progressive Conservative house leader Chris d’Entremont is today repeating his call for the Conflict of Interest Commissioner to be an independent officer of the House of Assembly.
Commissioner Merlin Nunn was today’s witness at the Standing Committee on Human Resources where he said himself that the role should be an independent officer of the legislature.
“The commissioner himself agrees that this role should be independent of government and report to the legislature,” says d’Entremont. “We learned today that his office doesn’t have a clear mandate with checks and balances to protect Nova Scotians. Stephen McNeil needs to fix that.”
Stephen McNeil promised the most open and transparent government in Canada, but he has failed to deliver says d’Entremont.
“Today we confirmed what we had long suspected which is yet broken 2013 election promise by the Liberals,” says d’Entremont. “Stephen McNeil has not made openness and transparency a priority for his government.. He continues to protect the status quo and that’s not good enough.”
Nova Scotia remains one of only two jurisdictions in Canada where the appointed Conflict of Interest Commissioners are not also officers of their respective legislative assemblies.
Last spring, the PC Caucus introduced legislation which would require that the Conflict of Interest Commissioner be an officer of the House of Assembly. It would also require them to make an annual report to the Speaker and table it in the House of Assembly.
“It’s time to actually deliver the accountability that Nova Scotians deserve,” says d’Entremont. “We know the commissioner is investigating the government, but wouldn’t it be nice to know the scope of his work.”
September 26 to October 2 Right to Know Week in Nova Scotia, which helps raise awareness of access to information rights while promoting freedom of information as essential to both democracy and good governance.