Bill 29 to receive a full review

Newly-minted Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Tom Marshall announced a full review of the controversial Bill 29.

Strong reaction to Bill 29 review from opposition

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Tom Marshall announced on Thursday that there will be a full review of Bill 29. (CBC)

Newly-minted Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Tom Marshall has announced a full review of the controversial Bill 29. 

On Thursday, Marshall said an independent committee made up of three people will hold public hearings on the matter.

The Bill 29 was introduced in 2012 and gives government increased powers in determining what information can be withheld from the public. 

A statutory review of access to information laws was slated for 2015, but Marshall said his government wanted to "speed up" the process.

The government will release dates for the hearings in the coming weeks. 

Osborne says review 'too little, too late'

Meanwhile, critics of the bill have called on government to do more than just review the law. They want it overhauled — or scrapped altogether.

Liberal MHA Tom Osborne said Bill 29 is a big part of why he left the provincial Progressive Conservative party — even though he voted for it. Now Osborne wants access to information and privacy legislation re-written.

The former Tory said the government's plan to review Bill 29 is too little, too late.

Liberal MHA Tom Osborne. (CBC)

"I didn't agree with it, I don't agree with it. I think it's draconian legislation. I think that the general public have spoken out loudly on this and are strongly disapproving of Bill 29," Osborne said. 

Osborne doesn't believe the PC's are conducting the review for the right reasons.

"They've lost a couple of members over Bill 29. They've lost a by-election in part because of Bill 29. They've lost a great deal of public support. I don't believe that their intentions here are honourable. I believe that they are doing it for political reasons."

'I didn't agree with it, I don't agree with it. I think it's draconian legislation' - Liberal MHA Tom Osborne, on Bill 29

Michael Karanicolas, legal officer with the Centre for Law and Democracy in Halifax said he views Bill 29 as a step backwards and said the legislation has a major flaw that should be removed.

"It vastly expands the government's ability to withhold documents related to cabinet in a manner that goes far beyond legitimate justifications to maintain government candour," Karanicolas said.

Meanwhile, the leader of the provincial New Democratic Party has been calling on government to repeal Bill 29 since it was introduced nearly two years ago.  

New Democratic Party Leader Lorraine Michael. (CBC)
Lorraine Michael said the Tories are just trying to 'save face' after months of criticism.

"Well, I think the timing is trying to you know say, 'Oh we're different, we're doing it on the heels of Premier Dunderdale,'" said Michael.

"But what the people know, and what the premier knows, is that every single one of them in that government were part of that decision."