Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers is questioning why the Higgs government continues to try to hide the original findings of a working committee established to propose measure to help the city of Saint John find ways to deal with its ongoing financial challenges.
At a public accounts committee meeting this week, a Liberal motion to release the original report was quashed by an amendment put forward by Tory MLA Glen Savoie.
“I don’t know what the Higgs government is trying to hide by continuing to suppress this report,” Vickers said. “The minister has acknowledged he received the report but didn’t like the recommendations. The public has a right to know what those recommendations were, and why the minister, the premier and the Saint John Tory caucus have refused to release them.”
The committee was established as part of a deal with the province in 2018 to help the city find long-term solutions to what has been referred to as a structural deficit for the municipality. The committee consisted of officials from the province and the city, and its findings were due to be delivered to the province six months ago.
“This report was put together by non-partisan civil servants to help the city of Saint John. Why the premier wants to keep this report from the public is beyond me. The city of Saint John deserves better from this government,” Vickers added.
The Saint John deal came under scrutiny in the most recent report from the province’s auditor general. Vickers welcomes further scrutiny of the deal by a committee of the legislature in the near future.
“The auditor general has questioned how this deal came together and we welcome further scrutiny of that. However, we can’t lose sight of the fact that the real goal here it to put Saint John on more secure financial footing, so the unedited findings of this working group of city and provincial officials have to be part of the discussion before the legislative committee.”