Question Period: 1 December 2015
Full transcript available here.

FOIPP and retroactive disclosure

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I think I’d like to keep the conversation going on loan write-offs. On the 18th of June of this year the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism told the opposition that if they wanted more information on past write-offs and loan cancellations that, and I quote here: “… we do have a FOIPP act. If there’s anything that they require to see there is a streamline there for them to access that.”

Question to the hon. Minister of Economic Development and Tourism: Does he still stand by that statement today?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

Mr. MacDonald: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Right from the get-go transparency and accountability was the backbone of this government and that’s what we campaigned on. The FOIPP act is there for a particular reason and we’re bringing in new legislation right now and I think we’re being very proactive in that legislation to bring files like this before the Cabinet.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, first supplementary.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In reference to the same loans issue and around the same time our Premier stated, and again I quote: “…legally, that we cannot at this stage go back and disclose the identity under the legislation on a retroactive basis.”

So I’m confused. Either the information is freely available through FOIPP, as the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism has just told us, or it is prevented from being disclosed by law.

Can the Premier point me to the specific legislation which, in his opinion, would prevent this retroactive disclosure?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Mr. Speaker, in the course of researching a response to the advice of the Auditor General it was the considered view of legal counsel that people or firms who had loans written off during the period 2005 through to when this new legislation will take effect could not have their loans disclosed because of the terms of their loans, and the legal advice under which we operated, starting, as the Minister of Finance has said, under the previous Conservative government.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, second supplementary.

Financial Administration Act and Auditor General

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Under section 16 of the Audit Act the Auditor General has a statutory obligation to report the total amount of write-offs and cancellations. Increasingly, however, Finance PEI and IIDI have not reported write-offs through the Financial Administration Act, therefore making the information inaccessible to either the Auditor General or anybody else.

I look forward, by the way, to the investigation of the Financial Administration Act, and I’d also like to shine a spotlight on the ‘may’ and ‘shall’ issue which you discussed earlier, Minister of Finance.

But a question to you, sir: Will the proposed amendments to the Financial Administration Act correct this incompatibility and allow the Auditor General to fully carry out her mandated requirements?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Finance.

Mr. Roach: Yes, it will, and those loans that are written off will come through Cabinet in the regular process and be made public.

 

One Comment

  1. Bill Kays 2 December 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Before I start about the Roach boy, let me say how impressed I am at Bevan Baker during round 2 of the Legislative Rocky Balboa fight against Liberal government corruption. Conservs are bunting a few also. In my humble opinion Alan Roach is a criminal, a no class act criminal. He is the direct opposite of what a servant of the people should be. Servants of the people do not hide behind procedure. Ethical, moral, and fiscal servants of the people would only take the money they need to live on. A pension chaser no doubt. He was probably always unethical and immoral in his dealings with the public as he is so slick at it, subterfuge and deception are all tools of the undercover cop. He is not what I want in a servant of the people. Cockroach of all cockroaches and master of only old Wadey Boy’s, although he was known to give old Ghizzy the odd rub or two. He is a disgrace, like the rest of his self enriching Liberal government counterparts. To make it abundantly clear, we will keep their feet to the fire, if only for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

     

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