For Immediate Release
23 May, 2023
As the House of Assembly debates changes to legislation governing the Public Utilities Board, the NDP caucus is proposing amendments to improve transparency and accountability.
NDP Leader Jim Dinn says that, as written, Bill 34 would give future governments the power to forbid the PUB to examine an issue the board considers important. By deleting the words “or not,” says Dinn, government retains the power to instruct the PUB to look into a matter, but cannot stop the board, which represents consumer interests, from investigating a matter it deems important.
The NDP’s other serious concern with Bill 34 is that it creates a new category of PUB commissioner. Government and the PUB chair can appoint temporary commissioner with specialized knowledge to be part of discussions at the board level and to advise if needed. This temporary commissioner, under the Bill as proposed, would also have voting power.
“It makes sense to bring in expertise for consultation when needed,” Dinn said, “but why do we need to give full voting rights to a temporarily appointed expert? There is a potential here for future conflict of interest which it would be wise to forestall now, at the legislative stage.”
The NDP’s amendments to the legislation would see the Independent Appointments Commission involved in the appointment of temporary PUB commissioners and remove the rights of temporary commissioners to vote.
Bill 34 goes before the House of Assembly today. Amendments will be introduced, debated, and voted on at the Committee stage.
For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or email@example.com