Calls for P.E.I. small claims court review gain steam
A New London homeowner who sparked a conflict of interest investigation into the business affairs of the provincial treasurer now wants a review of the province's small claims court.
Suzanne Hastings-James won a small claims case against Murcon, a construction company partly owned by provincial Treasurer Mitch Murphy, but she never received any payment from the company.
The conflict of interest commissioner found Murphy was not in a conflict of interest and noted that about three-quarters of the successful judgments in small claims court remain unpaid in whole or in part.
Hastings-James said the small claims court system should be reformed.
"It's almost like it's false advertising, asking someone to go to small claims court because the process is there and it's a process but it's ineffective in terms of a result."
P.E.I. Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz agreed there should be a review of the small claims system and said he'll make an official request for such a review at a meeting of the public accounts committee.
"I indicated to her that I would definitely bring that up," he said.
Premier Pat Binns said he isn't sure if it's the mandate of the auditor general to explore the workings of the small claims court, but he's not against the idea of a review.
"I think it's worth us asking the question: 'Is there a problem that could be fixed in a better way?'" Binns said.
The public accounts committee meets Wednesday.