On Point | Nothing to hide, finance minister says

Finance Minister Tom Marshall has suggested that a court challenge may be needed before more documents are unearthed for the auditor general.

Newfoundland and Labrador's finance minister insists the governing Tories have disclosed what the public needs to know about multi-billion-dollar spending, although Tom Marshall suggests a court challenge may be needed before more documents are unearthed.

Speaking to On Point with David Cochrane, Marshall rejected Auditor General Wayne Loveys' contention that he has been unfairly blocked from critical information about $5 billion in infrastructure spending.

Loveys said in his report this week that government is denying his office access to documentation that has been revealed before.

"The document which reflects cabinet deliberations — they've always been held in confidence," said Marshall, who reiterated government's position that the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act makes it illegal to turn over some documents that Loveys wanted to read.

"The ATIPP legislation forbids — it strictly forbids — that information being released," Marshall said.

However, Marshall said "a difference in interpretation" seemed to be involved with the Auditor General's request for specific materials from specific departments — and that that difference could be resolved at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"People will always disagree," Marshall said. "People of good will can have differences of opinion on what a section says, and that's why we have courts."

In the show's second segment, Cochrane interviews Liberal Leader Dwight Ball and NDP Leader Lorraine Michael about the Auditor General's report and what Michael describes as a "veil of secrecy" that is shrouding the work of government.

The On Point insiders' panel debates whether the government has become too secretive, as well as troubles with the newsprint industry.

Participating this week are PC MHA David Brazil, Liberal Yvonne Jones and New Democrat Dale Kirby.