Liberal interests still being served by tainted trust fund

July 30, 2013

NDP MLA Pam Birdsall says it’s time for Stephen McNeil to hand over detailed financial statements of the Allan J. MacEachen policy institute.

Earlier this spring the NDP introduced a resolution in the House of Assembly requesting the Liberal Party to provide an update on the promised policy institute including full disclosure of its financial statements. All 43 members in the House voted in favour of supplying the information but to date the Liberals have refused to provide the financial information requested. Also, no financial reports have been provided to Elections Nova Scotia making it impossible to confirm the institute is complying with election laws.

“McNeil and the Liberals assured Nova Scotians the tainted Liberal trust fund dollars would be used to establish a policy institute to benefit the public good but we know next to nothing about what the money is actually being used for,” said Birdsall.

In 2009, just before the NDP made important changes to the rules around political donations to ensure fairness and transparency, the Liberals quietly shifted tainted Trust fund dollars. Financial Statements from 2009 show $365,308 from the fund that was only to be used for non-election purposes, was moved into an unrestricted fund accessible for attack advertising and political gain.

Birdsall says McNeil also needs to explain why a long serving Liberal was recently chosen to be executive director of Allan J. MacEachen policy institute.

“Stephen McNeil agreed the tainted Liberal trust fund should no longer be used for partisan purposes. Yet today we see a long serving Liberal being appointed to direct this organization,” said Birdsall.

Trustee of the Allan J. MacEachen policy institute David Cameron recently announced Doug Kirkpatrick of Ottawa will be the institute’s executive director.  Kirkpatrick formerly served as chief of staff to then-deputy prime minister Herb Gray in the 1990s during the Chrétien government. He also served as deputy principle secretary to Liberal Premier David Peterson in Ontario during the 1980s.

Birdsall says McNeil needs to explain how appointing a Liberal to be executive director of the public policy institute will benefit all Nova Scotians.

“This appointment goes against the spirit of what this research institute was promised to do and Nova Scotians deserve some answers,” said Birdsall.