February 9, 2010
(Halifax, NS) Liberal MLA Andrew Younger says the Fisheries Minister’s refusal to appear at this morning’s meeting of the legislature’s Economic Development Committee is another example of the NDP saying one thing while in opposition and doing another when in power.
“In December, the minister was unanimously invited to this morning’s meeting with Department officials and representatives of the province’s Fisheries Loan Board,” explained Younger. “Members of all three political parties agreed to invite Minister Belliveau, who originally accepted the invitation. His attendance was confirmed through a letter to our committee on January 5th.”
Younger points out that at the last meeting, the committee chair (an NDP member) confirmed that the minister would attend and that it was appropriate for him to do so.
However, on January 14th, the committee was informed through another letter that the Minister wouldn’t be attending the meeting after all. This abrupt ministerial change of heart has Younger wondering why.
Minister Belliveau’s refusal to appear before a legislative committee directly contradicts what current Finance Minister Graham Steele was calling for as recently as last February. At the time, Steele was leading the charge to have then Premier MacDonald appear before the Public Accounts committee.
“The NDP spent years in opposition talking repeatedly about the importance of ministerial accountability and the responsibility cabinet ministers have to appear before legislative committees,” Younger stated. “It’s disappointing to learn that the NDP’s talk of accountability was just that - talk.”