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Thursday, May 5, 2016

May 5, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

Liberals Defeat Recall Resolution For Fear of Being Held Accountable

 

Steve Kent, Open Government Critic for the Official Opposition, is disappointed the Ball Liberals voted down the private member’s resolution to explore recall legislation when “restoring openness, transparency and accountability” through measures such as an “all-party committee on democratic reform” was the very first plank in the Liberals’ 2015 policy red book.

 

Kent said, “The Liberals voted in unison to defeat the resolution because they are afraid of being held accountable for breaking their election promises, ramming through a Budget that will hurt people and ignoring the pleas of their own constituents, who want these Budget measures reconsidered.”

 

Kent said, “Recall legislation in British Columbia and most American jurisdictions is a way of giving voters a chance to petition for the removal of Members who are not doing their job or ignoring their constituents’ best interests between elections. People are demanding greater accountability from those they elect, and this is a natural next step, following on the significant reforms we have already made on access to information, open government, fixed election dates, whistleblower protection, free votes, conflict of interest laws and so forth. Recall legislation would compel MHAs to be more accountable to their constituents.”

 

Kent said, “The Liberals were grasping at straws to find reasons to vote down the resolution. The Liberals say the process would be open to abuse, but BC’s legislation has provisions to guard against abuse. The Liberals say it would prevent governments from making tough but necessary decisions; however voters are capable of distinguishing between tough decisions that make sense and tough decisions that don’t, and it is outrageous to suggest voters are incapable of choosing what is in the best interests of the province. The Liberals say it would waste money, but BC’s costs are modest and they reinforce the existing work of the electoral office to keep voters lists updated. The Liberals say it is not a priority, yet it was the first plank in their red book, which they are now ignoring.

 

"The Liberals say the Opposition should focus on the real issues, but nothing matters more to people right now than the powerlessness they feel as their own elected Members ignore them, break the promises they made at people’s doorsteps only months ago, and refuse to demand improvements to a Budget that is really going to make people suffer unless it is changed.”

 

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Media Contact:

 

Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition

 

(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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