Opposition alleges P.E.I. Finance Minister ‘lied’ in legislature

Teresa Wright
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Opposition MLA Steven Myers.

Steven Myers says auditor general never reviewed contentious loan write-off bill or gave it thumbs up

Opposition MLA Steven Myers says Finance Minister Allen Roach “lied” in the legislature last December when he said the province’s auditor general reviewed government’s contentious loan write-off bill and gave it a thumbs up.

During a meeting of P.E.I.’s public accounts committee Wednesday, Myers asked Auditor General Jane MacAdam whether she was satisfied with the bill, which proposed to enshrine into law that all loans or debts written off by any agency of government must be approved by cabinet.

This legislative change was put forward as a direct response to concerns MacAdam raised in her 2015 report after she found Crown corporations were quietly cancelling and writing off millions in taxpayers’ money every year without public scrutiny.

Quoting from the official transcript of the Dec. 2 sitting of the legislature, Myers noted Roach stated the auditor general was consulted on government’s loan write-off bill, and that she was “satisfied with the wording of the legislation.”

MacAdam told public accounts Wednesday she did not see the legislation, nor did she sign off on it.

“I didn’t review the legislative changes,” MacAdam said.

“Quite frankly, I’m floored that the finance minister would lie to the house,” Myers responded.

The bill sparked heated debate on the final day of the fall sitting of the legislature, when Opposition Conservative MLAs and Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker raised multiple concern about the way bill was structured, notably that it would not be applied retroactively and that it contained a loophole in the wording allowing cabinet the discretion to withhold details from the public.

It was so contentious, government pulled the bill off the floor and closed the legislature that day without passing it.

When the house is prorogued in April, it will die on the order paper.

A spokesperson for the Department of Finance says the bill will be re-introduced in the upcoming spring sitting of the legislature and is “a high priority for government.”

MacAdam confirmed to reporters after the committee meeting Wednesday she did not see or receive a copy of the loan write-off bill prior to its introduction in the house last fall, but was informed there would be legislative changes coming.

Myers says he is now considering raising a point of order against Roach for allegedly misleading the house.

“I imagine the members of the legislative assembly will want to reprimand someone who lied to them,” Myers said.

“I’m a little shocked that the finance minister, who is about to drop a budget on the house, has basically lied about something so trivial… you’re going to talk about a budget and you’re showing us numbers and you expect us to believe you? That would be my concern about it.”

A department spokesperson told The Guardian the auditor general “requested a formal update on government’s direction on the legislation, and that update was provided prior to last fall’s legislative sitting. The exact language was then reviewed with legal counsel as appropriate.”

twrighttheguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Department of Finance, The Guardian

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Recent comments

  • hammer
    February 25, 2016 - 08:30

    Does Roach ever tell the truth? He sounds just like sheridan. We know where that led the province. Honesty and transparency. What is it? Ask wade and robert

  • hmatt
    February 25, 2016 - 07:06

    Did anyone really think, this administration was going to be different than the last one, it's the culture. Roach is shades of Wes, for sure.

  • Quiet Observer
    February 25, 2016 - 06:57

    Wade will stand in the House and use some line scripted by his backroom boys to mislead everyone about what Roach did. It is black and white. he said the AG did something. The AG says she didn't. This is a test for Wade. he has failed every test so far in terms of differentiating himself from the Ghiz Regime. Here is another test of his integrity.

  • Jimmy Buffet
    February 24, 2016 - 22:15

    Myers has still not learned proper protocol of the legislature and should have been turfed out . I still do not know how he was elected in the first place .

    • Jay
      February 25, 2016 - 08:58

      What does this have to do with the Minister lying to the legislature?

    • UPWESTER
      February 25, 2016 - 11:05

      Do you want him to be politically correct and say maybe he misspoke? I think it is Roach who should be kicked out because it was him who clearly lied.He should have to resign, we can't have a liar at the helm of finance. It was his previous portfolio where all the write offs are occurring.

    • Regular Joe
      Regular Joe
      February 25, 2016 - 15:58

      Really your concerned with the fact that Myers may or may not have follow protocol , yet your not concerned that a Finance Minister Lied or directly mislead the house about money that TAXPAYERS have to repay because they wanted to look good . If they lied or were misleading about this , what else are they hiding would be my biggest concern . How can you trust a finance Minister if they are not telling the truth about facts in the house . Should be immediate grounds for dismissal from Cabinet .

  • SlyFox
    February 24, 2016 - 20:26

    What really concerns me is that somewhere someone in a crown corporation has the power to write off millions of dollars of loans without public scrutiny. This in itself does not have the best interests of the taxpayers in mind., if it can be done with out anyone knowing the reasons for the loan to be written off. If we do not have openness and transparity in governments where one can look at how our own governments is spending our tax dollars then we are being mislead and misinformed by default.

  • Robin Hood
    February 24, 2016 - 19:51

    Way to go Mr. Myers. Those Ghiz thieves need to be held accountable. Why are they trying to hide what should be in the public domain? Well, we know why - shady dealings with money going into pockets at the trough.

  • Wow.
    February 24, 2016 - 19:07

    I see this cowboy isn't afraid of a lawsuit??

    • Garth Staples
      February 24, 2016 - 21:01

      Are you saying Myers lied? WOW indeed.

    • Not in the slightest.
      February 24, 2016 - 23:04

      The e-gaming file involves influential Liberal and influential Conservatives. The law firms play both sides of the fence, for their own financial interests and betterment, and it has gotten out of control. The partners' primary interests to their families and their own bottom lines, not the political parties, although individuals certainly like to be the ones control. I believe that the democratic process in P.E.I. has become somewhat deceptive and distorted as result (at least on the financial crime files).

  • Poor Steven
    February 24, 2016 - 19:04

    Maybe just maybe - someday someone will believe you are a politician. Until then ..,,,,

    • no thanks
      February 25, 2016 - 10:58

      Politicians have lost all credibility ----WHAT DERANGED MIND WOULD BE PROUD OF BEING CALLED A POLITICIAN ?

  • Be careful.
    February 24, 2016 - 18:50

    Watch the lips moving. ..that's when you know who is lying!!

  • Indigo
    February 24, 2016 - 18:45

    This is amazing, especially since the Premier has set the standards high, - or so we thought. I don't suppose that this revelation will receive no comment from neither him nor the un-truth-teller himself. THE WORLD IS GOING TO HELL IN A HAND CART, --

    • Regular Joe
      Regular Joe
      February 25, 2016 - 07:57

      Really your concerned with the fact that Myers may or may not have follow protocol , yet your not concerned that a Finance Minister Lied directly to the house about money that TAXPAYERS have to repay because they wanted to be Generous . If they lied about this , what else are they hiding would be my biggest concern . How can you trust a finance Minister if they are not telling the truth about facts in the house . Should be immediate grounds for dismissal from Cabinet .