Whynott: Liberals and Conservatives need to disclose if they knew ratepayers were being billed for party briefings

July 31, 2013

NDP MLA Mat Whynott says he’s concerned Stephen McNeil and Jamie Baillie still haven’t told the Lower Power Rates Alliance of Nova Scotia they can’t bill ratepayers for party briefings.

Yesterday he asked both opposition party Leaders to make it clear to the Lower Power Rates Alliance that it’s wrong to bill ratepayers for meetings they held with Liberal and Conservative MLAs.

He says their silence to this point is somewhat surprising.

In its claim to the UARB, the Lower Power Rates Alliance claimed $6,900 for 23 hours of consulting and research by Craig MacDonald, which includes “evidence sharing with other interveners” including the “NS Liberal Party” and “NS PC Party”.

See expense filing here (page 15) : LPRANS_Cost_Recovery_Request for UARB on ML.

“A briefing for Stephen McNeil and Jamie Baillie shouldn’t cost ratepayers $300 a day. Were the Opposition Leaders aware ratepayers were being charged for their briefings and do they support it? If not, the right thing for Stephen McNeil and Jamie Baillie to do is to tell the Lower Power Rates Alliance they shouldn’t bill $300 a day to brief Liberal and PC MLAs,” says Whynott.

“If the group won’t comply, the Liberals and Tories should return the political donations they received from Lower Power Rates founding board member Todd MacDonald.”

It has been reported that in 2012, Todd MacDonald contributed $5000 to the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia. In 2013, MacDonald said he gave $5000 to the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia. The maximum an individual can donate to a political party in Nova Scotia is $5000 annually.