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Thursday, July 14, 2016

July 14, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

Finance Minister ‎Ignores Request for McInnes Cooper Expenditure Details

 

Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, said Finance Minister Cathy Bennett has ignored his request for detailed information breaking down the public funding the government has provided to its external legal consultant, McInnes Cooper, and their communications consultant - funding that reportedly exceeded $40,000 in June and $101,000 in total thus far.

 

Hutchings wrote to the Minister on June 15, stating: "On June 7, 2016 during Question Period a commitment was made to provide myself with the total amount spent, to date, to McInnes Cooper for support services related to public sector negotiations. At this time, I am requesting information surrounding the total paid to McInnes Cooper. It would be appreciated if you could provide the dates of services received, details of these services, and copies of the respective invoices." A response from Minister Bennett has not been received to date.

 

Hutchings said, "This is an‎ extraordinary amount of money to have spent duplicating the government's labour relations work when negotiations have not yet even started and deadlines have been missed to begin negotiations with other unions."

 

"‎Minister Bennett is showing contempt for the people of our province by withholding this information, while entrenching a pattern by the Liberal Premier and Ministers to refuse to comment or make themselves available to answer for their decisions or lack thereof to the people they were elected to serve. Minister Bennett and the Liberal government have an obligation to clearly lay out how this $101,000 has been spent and for what purpose."

 

"Their contempt for accountability and their disorganization are very concerning," he said. "Taxpayers have the right to know how their money is being spent."

 

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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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