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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June 7, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

Justice Minister Must Stop Denying Access to Information, Release Justice Report on Severance that Premier Repeatedly Promised to Publish

 

Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, is demanding that Justice Minister and Attorney General Andrew Parsons release the report of the Department of Justice and Public Safety into the provision of severance to the former CEO of Nalcor Energy.

 

Under questioning about the Justice report in the House of Assembly on May 26, Premier Ball committed nine times to release the report, saying: “when the information is readily available, when it's ready to be released, when Justice has done the review, it will be released, I will say, Mr. Speaker. If this House is open – and I hope it is; I hope this House is open so we can put it out there, whenever it is, but we will do it at the earliest possible date.” The Premier restated his commitment as recently as this past Thursday.

 

But under questioning in the House on June 6, the Justice Minister stated: “At this time, the decision will be not to release that opinion due to the implications it may have on solicitor-client privilege.”

 

Davis said, “The Premier and his Ministers are hiding behind ATIPP provisions intended for other purposes in order to protect themselves from the political harm of exposing their actions to the spotlight. As Attorney General, the Minister has the discretion and authority to release the report if he desires. It’s time for the Liberals to respect the spirit, intent and provisions of the Access to Information Act by putting this report before the people, who are demanding to see it. The Justice Minister and the Premier have an obligation to disclose this information to the people of the province so people can see whether the provision of severance was justified in this instance and – just as importantly – how this process unfolded and who was involved. The public have a right to know, and the government has a duty to disclose. Stop hiding.”

 

Davis said the Auditor General is already on record saying the release of the Justice report will not prejudice or interfere with his independent investigation into the severance issue.

 

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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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