Liberals must produce trust fund documents

May 17, 2013

NDP MLA Pam Birdsall is waiting to see what documents the Liberals will produce today regarding the For the Public Good Trust and the Allan J. MacEachern Institute, which the Liberals promised to create using their tainted trust fund dollars.

On May 8, Birdsall read a resolution requesting the Liberal Party to provide an update on the disposition of the $2.2 million from the Liberal’s segregated funds.

“Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Official Opposition table with the Clerk of the House of Assembly, on or before May 17, 2013, all trust documents, the names of the trustees, financial statements, and all other relevant documentation related to the For the Public Good Trust and the Allan J. MacEachern Institute.” said Birdsall.

The Speaker heard a ‘no’ and a recorded vote was called for. In the end, all 43 members in the House voted in favour of supplying the information.

“Nova Scotians have a right to know what happened to the tainted trust fund dollars which the Liberals promised would be used for the public good,” said Birdsall.

Other information expected to be released are the name(s) of the trustee(s), Electronic Transfer of Funds form, Declaration in the Matter of Trust Funds form, Trust Account Reports 2009-2013, Engagement for Accountants – Accountant’s Report on the Trust Account Report (ARTAR), Trust ledgers showing all monies received and disbursed explaining the purpose of any transfers and any unexpended balance, 2009-2013 bank statements or pass books, cashed cheques and detailed deposit slips for all trust and general accounts, registration documentation under the Societies Act, in addition to the names of staff and principles.

Birdsall and the NDP Caucus will be looking to see if the information provided meets the requirements of both the Trust Account Regulations of the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society and the regulations under the Societies Act as well as reasonable expectations of transparency.

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.

Stephen McNeil had openly supported the legislative changes in 2009 requiring their tainted Trust Fund be closed and its dirty secretive past put behind them but now the money is less transparent than ever.