Bill 29 review must close loophole that hides purchase info from taxpayers
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) says the planned review of the province’s Access to Information and Privacy Protection Act must include the loophole that allows corporations from outside the province to block people from knowing how tax dollars are being spent.
“I was appalled to hear on the news this morning that Staples, a multi-national corporation, is using a provision passed in Bill 29 to try to block the public from finding out how much they are charging Memorial University for office supplies,” Michael said.
“Later this morning, the Privacy Commissioner issued a routine report on an ongoing case that sounds very similar. A third party, the successful bidder on a tender, is attempting to block release of tender information based on Section 27 of ATIPPA, a section changed by Bill 29.”
In the second case, Eastern Health has15 days (which will be tomorrow) to respond; there is a further 30 days after that for the intervening party to decide whether to file an appeal. Eastern Health cannot release the requested information to the applicant until the 30 days has elapsed.
Michael contends that people have the right to know how their money is being spent, and public spending should be open to scrutiny.
“I believe that if you bid on government contracts, and accept money from government, then you should expect public scrutiny,” Michael said today.
“If you aren’t prepared for the public to know how much money they have given you for your goods or services, then don’t go looking for government business.”