Bill One fails to deliver on promises

NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael

If the first bill of a government’s agenda sets the tone for that government’s term, says NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi), then Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can look forward to four years of broken promises, lip service, and the usual political games.

Bill One, the Independent Appointments Commission Act, was passed just after midnight despite strenuous objections registered by MHAs on the opposition side of the House. The NDP caucus proposed two amendments. One that would have seen agencies boards and commissions reflect the diverse population of the province was not accepted for debate. The other proposed that the commission should be selected by the entire House of Assembly rather than the party in power; this was accepted for debate, but voted down by government members.

“This government promised to ‘take politics out of government appointments’ to agencies, boards and commissions, but last night in debate on Bill One The Independent Appointments Commission Act, this same government voted against an amendment that would have seen the Commission selected by an all-party committee of the House rather than by Cabinet,” Michael said in Question Period today.

“How does keeping control of the makeup of the Commission in Cabinet’s own hands lead to the less partisan system they promised?”

Cabinet will appoint the Commission which in turn will make recommendations to fill new vacancies. Government can choose one of these recommendations or appoint somebody else.

Michael says she doesn’t understand how this system keeps the Liberal platform promise of taking the politics out of government appointments.

Associated Caucus Members: 

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