Liberals need to fix economic accountability act
January 25, 2015
NDP MLA Denise Peterson-Rafuse says the Liberal “Accountability in Economic Development Assistance Act” needs improvement after ERDT Minister Michel Samson failed to disclose publicly a $2.5 million grant to Nova Star Cruises. She says the Premier needs to show leadership by strengthening the act, given that it failed a major test just a year after passage.
“Transparency doesn’t come with a 30-day trial period,” says Peterson-Rafuse. “The Liberal government promised to release details of economic investments in real-time, but Minister Samson has not acted accordingly. The fact he argued the accountability act was followed during his conference call last week is evidence enough the legislation must be strengthened.”
Peterson-Refuse adds: “The Minister used a loop-hole to not tell the truth for close to a month hoping he could hide the additional funding within a larger announcement. Taxpayers deserve and expect transparency, they should not be manipulated.”
The Accountability in Economic Development Assistance Act was passed in December 2013 and gives the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism 30 days to publish details of economic investment agreements. The Liberal government provided a $2.5 million grant to Nova Star Cruises on December 23rd, which the Minister did not disclose until a January 18th press release. On several occasions between those dates Minister Samson denied giving additional funds to the company.
Watch Michel Samson justify keeping some economic decisions secret from Nova Scotians in August 2014: http://youtu.be/6yezYyOP88U .