The McNeil Liberal government once again affirmed their culture of secrecy, by voting against a motion to restore the Public Accounts Committee to weekly meetings and to topics outside Auditor General reports.
“The Liberal government’s secretive approach to how taxpayers' dollars are spent is an insult to all Nova Scotians,” says Tim Halman, MLA for Dartmouth East and member of the Public Accounts Committee. “There are too many important issues to be discussed for the Liberals to continue to limit Public Accounts meetings to just twelve (or less) per year.”
Under every previous government, the Public Accounts Committee met 20 to 29 times per year. The McNeil Liberals slashed the Committee to just twelve meetings in 2019 after growing frustrated that the Opposition was able to use this committee to shed light on issues with costly government projects.
Halman says that with Premier McNeil stepping down, the next Liberal Premier should restore Public Accounts and commit to leading a more open and transparent government. Three McNeil era Cabinet Ministers are competing for the job: Randy Delorey, Labi Kousoulis and Iain Rankin.
“I’m calling on the Liberals who want to be Premier do the right thing, commit to restoring Public Accounts to its weekly meetings, and lift the restrictions on government accountability,” says Halman.
Just this week, the McNeil Liberals refused to release the details for a project list that will cost $228 million dollars in COVID-19 stimulus spending.
Halman says that with the increase in government spending, caused by the pandemic, it is imperative that committees like Public Accounts have the opportunity to examine this kind of spending.
“Nova Scotians are tired of the behind-closed-doors approach to governing and deserve a government that will be more transparent with how their money is spent,” says Halman.