For immediate release
18 May, 2021
Jim Dinn, NDP Opposition House Leader, reacting to the Minister of Justice’s refusal to review the Liberal government’s approach to reforming the Elections Act says it makes the committee nothing more than window dressing. On the 4th of May, representatives from opposition groups submitted a list of recommendations to ensure that the committee’s terms of reference were balanced and not weighted to one political party.
“We all agree that we have to ensure that an election like the people of Newfoundland and Labrador experienced this year can never happen again,” said Dinn. ” However, the Minister’s refusal to balance the committee is an arrogant display of force that puts the will of the Liberal Party ahead of ensuring our electoral system works for everyone.”
In their meeting, Opposition members from the NDP Caucus, PC Caucus, and an independent MHA jointly submitted a request to the Minister of Justice requesting that the committee include:
1. Two members of the general public who are non-partisan
2. A chair that is independent of political parties
3. Balanced representation with no one political party controlling the agenda
4. An independent investigator with the authority to exercise investigative powers as defined in the Public Inquiries Act, 2006
5. The resources required to carry out its work including the dedicated services of a researcher (and writer if required) and any reasonable financial resources that may be required
6. A defined deadline for the report.
As of Tuesday morning, the Minister of Justice has stated he will not entertain any discussion of points 1-4. The NL NDP is calling on the Minister of Justice and the Premier to re-evaluate their approach to open and transparent government and start with ensuring the Elections Act Reform Committee works for everyone and not just a select few in this province. The NL NDP will submit recommendations to the committee, but will not sit on the committee until the composition is changed.
“I’m here to work. If you’re telling me I can either sit on a window dressing committee, or work on cases for my constituents who are facing poverty and homelessness – I’m going to choose work for my constituents.”
For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or firstname.lastname@example.org