What are the Liberals hiding?

Last week, the Liberal government said if Nova Scotians want to know how much they are paying for the secret Liberal ferry deal, they’d have to take the government to court.

Your tax dollars pay for the deal, but the Liberals don’t want you to know how much you are shelling out.

In fact, Premier Stephen McNeil believes he, and he alone, should decide what information Nova Scotians can handle and what he should hide from taxpayers.

The Liberals don’t trust you with information.

Can you trust them?

The Liberals used to say: “As Nova Scotians, we’ve always held our provincial governments to higher standards. We expect our elected representatives to believe in transparency and to respect government’s obligation to share information with us, its citizens.”

The same Liberal Party release declared: “Since 2013, your Liberal government has been dedicated to being the most open and transparent government in the country, tirelessly working to improve public trust, increase engagement and enhance services for you, the taxpayer.” Now they say “see you in court” to Nova Scotians who want information.

In September 2017, the Liberals sent a press release where Internal Services Minister Patricia Arab said: “We will continue to strengthen our access and privacy practices to improve transparency and accountability.”

Yet, last year, a private citizen, Ronald Neufeld, was forced to take the government to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to get information the Privacy Commissioner said he was entitled to have. Mr. Neufeld won.

Just four days before the 2013 election, Stephen McNeil put in writing his commitment to transparency. Responding to a report from the Centre for Law and Democracy, McNeil said: “If elected Premier, I will expand the powers and mandate of the Review Officer, particularly through granting her order-making power.”

Last year, the premier called his promise a mistake and suggested Nova Scotians like his willingness to go back on his word. “I think what most Nova Scotians are grateful for, I’m not stubborn in my ways and I realize I make a mistake, I acknowledge it,” he said.

The Progressive Conservative Caucus believes taxpayers have a right to know how much they are paying for the secret Liberal ferry deal.

We also believe governments who get elected on being open and transparent should govern that way – openly and transparently.

The Liberals have refused to obey the recommendation of the Privacy Commissioner and reneged on their commitment to share information with citizens.

It makes you wonder what they are hiding. Doesn’t it?

Tim Houston

Progressive Conservative Leader