Tories breaking new election transparency law, Liberals say
Liberal Leader Brian Gallant says PCs are not releasing the full cost of campaign promises
The Progressive Conservative party is defending itself against accusations it has broken its own election transparency law by not disclosing the full cost of its campaign promises.
The Liberals are accusing the Tories of not adhering to the Fiscal Transparency and Accountability Act that was passed in the spring.
The new act, which is the first of its kind in Canada, requires a detailed costing of campaign promises.
Liberal Leader Brian Gallant said it's starting to look like the Tory law was designed to put other parties at a disadvantage.
“They've made so many announcements with government money, with taxpayer money, while at the same time any other party making commitments would have to provide detailed costing,” Gallant said.
Gallant said the Liberals have put a dollar figure to each promise they have made.
The Liberals say the Progressive Conservatives have been late filing accountant-certified, costing documents to Elections New Brunswick.
Further, the Liberals say the Tories haven't included a wave of government spending announcements they made over the summer.
Progressive Conservative Blaine Higgs, the province’s finance minister, said the Tories don't have to include official government announcements made before the campaign because they're already included in the government's spending outlook.
"What we are proposing is reflected in our four year forecast and we will build in any new initiatives within that framework,” Higgs said
The Fiscal Transparency and Accountability Act forces political parties to provide a cost estimate for all campaign promises made, starting 90 days before the election. That means any commitment made starting on June 24 must have a price tag along with it.
The law is intended to discourage parties from promising things that turn out to be too expensive
The parties must state the estimated cost and revenue effect of any promise and what the estimate is based on. The estimates have to be reviewed and approved by an accountant.
After the election results are official, any registered political party can ask the courts to review whether another party followed the law. If a judge rules the party failed to comply, it can lose its public subsidy.
Gallant didn’t say if his party will pursue penalties against the Tories as the legislation allows.