Premier’s claims about deputy minister’s contract inaccurate

September 23, 2015

Language contained in the contract for Stephen McNeil’s top deputy minister contradict statements made by the Premier to media on August 6, 2015.

NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says Stephen McNeil needs to explain why he made inaccurate statements about the contract, which has been criticized for providing a special tax loophole.
“Either the Premier didn’t know the details of the contract or he misled us,” says MacDonald. “Regardless, this contract is highly inappropriate. A high-ranking deputy within the McNeil government should not be able to avoid paying his fair share of taxes. This individual is working for the Premier and that work is being paid for by Nova Scotia taxpayers.”

In August the Premier said the contract was fair because unlike others it could be terminated with just 30 days’ notice and that his deputy was not eligible for the typical benefits associated with being a civil servant.

The contract itself suggests otherwise. In fact, the standard clause required under provincial regulations to terminate a personal services agreement with just 30 days’ notice has been omitted from Mr. Miller’s contract. Aside from termination for “just cause” and the February 16, 2017 end date in the contract, the only provision allowing either side to end the deal prematurely is a clause stating that Mr. Miller can end the agreement by providing “HMC with (90) days written notice.”

As for the Premier’s claim that Mr. Miller does not receive benefits, the contract explicitly states Mr. Miller is eligible for the full benefits associated with being a civil servant. This includes health benefits, access to the life insurance plan, the ability to enter into the province’s superannuation plan and participation in the long term disability plan.

These benefits are also outlined in the Order In Council appointing Mr. Miller as “Deputy Minister of the Office of Planning and Priorities.” http://www.novascotia.ca/exec_council/oic/view.asp?oicID=16679