Like him or dislike him, Kevin Arsenault lit the anti-corruption flame on P.E.I. During his recent bid for the leadership of the PC Party, he ran on a platform of integrity and honesty in politics. He did fail to win the leadership, but we believe P.E.I. can benefit greatly from his publicly stated vision and policies. We are not members of the PC Party, but we attended the leadership debates to observe and listen to the candidates.
Arsenault provided a detailed list of concrete solutions to minimize opportunities for corrupt behaviours including:
1. Revamping the access to information legislation and system to put the emphasis on withholding ONLY what would violate privacy rights of individuals.
2. Full access to the Lands Protection Act database and the business/corporate registry, with expanded "search" features.
3. Bi-weekly news conferences with the premier and key cabinet ministers, that would open to both media and "representatives" of Island organizations.
4. Renaming “Question Period” to “Answer Period” with specified consequences for not answering, and short deadlines to bring back answers to questions that can't be immediately answered.
5. Separating the Attorney General's Office from government and making it answerable to the legislative assembly.
6. Establishing a true “integrity and ethics” commissioner and office, based on the model being implemented in Australia.
7. Balanced standing committees of government, with appointed chairs/moderators to cast deciding votes with ties.
8. Supervisors to be forbidden to order the deletion of records; only Information Technology and Shared Services (ITSS) and the Provincial Archives and Records Office (PARO) staff could do this after copying and archiving important records.
9. Implement recall legislation for delinquent MLAs based roughly on the legislation in place in British Columbia.
10. Establish an Ombudsman Office, based on the best elements in legislation currently existing in every other province.
All sensible, all doable, all requiring one element: the will of the governing parties to implement the changes on behalf of, and in the interest of, P.E.I. citizens.
Let’s not allow politicos to snuff out the flame. Let’s fan it.
Dale Small and Wayne Carver,