Sheridan cleared in ruling by House Speaker

Teresa Wright
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Finance Minister Wes Sheridan and House Speaker Carolyn Bertram in the provincial legislature. Guardian file photo.

Finance Minister Wes Sheridan did not commit a breach of privilege in his accounting of the $25-million HST transition payment from Ottawa, House Speaker Carolyn Bertram has ruled.

Bertram delivered her ruling today before question period in the P.E.I. legislature.

She said she carefully examined all materials and arguments, noting matters of privilege are very serious.

“The point of privilege directed to me for a ruling by the Leader of the Opposition does not fulfill the requirements for a prima facie case privilege,” Bertram said.

“For that reason… I cannot allow the motion proposed by the Opposition to proceed.”

The issue centres around a $25-million payment the province received from the federal government in the 2012-13 fiscal year. The payment was the first instalment of a total $39 million in transitional funding to help the province roll out the HST.

Although the province received $25 million of that HST transitional money in 2012-13, Sheridan said the auditor general advised him all $39 million should be accounted for in the year the HST was implemented — the current fiscal year.

On the opening day of the legislature this spring, Opposition Leader Steven Myers charged that Sheridan committed a breach of privilege and contempt of the house, accusing him of intentionally misleading the House in his accounting of the $25 million HST payment.

Myers has repeatedly claimed Sheridan knew all along the money should have been accounted for as revenue in the 2013-14 budget, but put it instead in the previous year’s books to make his deficit look better.

He wanted the matter to go to the committee on rules, privileges and private bills, where the details will be reviewed and witnesses called.

Bertram’s ruling today means that will not happen.

“It is what it is, it’s her decision and we respect that,” Myers said in response to the ruling.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m disappointed, we’ll just carry on. We have lots of other issues to bring to the House.”

Myers added he plans to bring the issue up again when the auditor general appears before the public accounts committee this summer.

 

Geographic location: Ottawa, P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • ben
    April 16, 2014 - 06:56

    the system is a joke, one liberal clearing another one???

  • HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...
    April 15, 2014 - 17:58

    Having Bertram decide whether or not to proceed with this, is like asking Sheridan if he wants it to proceed!!!!!!! Just another one of the many sickening actions that this liberal government has displayed!!!

  • THEJOKE
    April 15, 2014 - 15:30

    Speaker Carolyn Bertram will not bite the hand that feeds her.... OUR GENTLE ISLAND IS BROKE.. THE DEBT THAT Finance Minister Wes Sheridan PUT ON THIS ISLAND AND THE TAXES HE RAISED WILL RUIN OUR WAY OF LIFE HERE, ROBERT GHIZ SHOULD BE PROUD OF HIMSELF... THE FRIENDS HE HIRED AND IS STILL HIRING THE UNIONS DOES NOTHING ABOUT HIS HIRING WAYS . REWRITING JOB Description , I AM GLAD I RETIRED THIS YEAR.. THERE SHOULD BE A NEWS STORY ON HOW HE AND HIS TEAM GETS FRIENDS GOV JOBS, ALL RULE ARE BROKEN TO GET FRIENDS JOBS..........................

    • don
      April 15, 2014 - 16:30

      i would like to see the real list of all the big rich liberals on PEI that got our money and force them to pay it all back plus interest. we will see a few filing chapter 13 as they live on the money wes gives them. and to see how many shares does the mla's have in these companies?

    • And this
      April 15, 2014 - 17:07

      And your rant has what to do with this decision?!

  • nosce te ipsum
    April 15, 2014 - 15:19

    Did she suffer any difficulty pronouncing all of the words in "her decision"?