Questions By Members, 13 December 2016
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

Election finance legislation

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you so much, Madam Speaker.

Last spring the Premier committed to introducing legislation this fall updating our election finance laws to, among other things, set annual donation limits and eliminate contributions from businesses and unions.

A question to the Premier: If government does indeed still intend to make these changes and reforms, when can we expect to see that legislation?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Madam Speaker, I was reminded after the Leader of the Third Party asked me last week whoever gets to see me in my office that we, in fact – he and I – had met, as the Leader of the Opposition and I, on November 7th to discuss this.

My plan is, and here you’ve stolen my thunder, Leader of the Third Party, tomorrow I will have a letter addressed to the leaders of the parties expanding on those discussions and on the statements that I made last spring.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party.

Rural broadband and ISPs

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you so much, Madam Speaker.

As I brought up recently in standing committee, Bell Aliant has donated over $46,000 to the Liberal Party and over $24,000 to the Tory party over the last few years.

We’ve had much discussion recently in this House about a new initiative to improve rural broadband, a process in which various Internet service providers on the Island have a real interest.

Given that Bell Aliant is a major funder to the governing party, how can government remain impartial in this process and treat all ISPs equally?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Madam Speaker, a two-part answer to the question.

One, as hon. members will know, we’ve indicated that we intend for there to be caps on donations, including by corporations. But more fundamentally, our commitment in terms of service to rural Islanders and to all Islanders with Internet service is competition.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party.

Political reform and public funds

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

A simple way for this government to reduce the perception of conflict of interest and improve transparency would be for political parties to stop taking any money at all from businesses, as you yourself promised, Mr. Premier.

A question to the Premier: Will you bring in the political finance reforms you promised before giving out major public funds on projects like rural broadband and the Cornwall bypass?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Madam Speaker, the timetable anticipated by the reforms that have been discussed would see them come into effect on January 1st, 2018.

I don’t think we would intend to stop government in that 14 months between now and then.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

 

One Comment

  1. W.Wilkins 14 December 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Dear Mr. MacLauchlan, you’ve charged Dr. Bevan-Baker with stealing your thunder. For the record, could you please define “thunder”?

     

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