Nfld. & Labrador

Paul Davis defends MHA cuts, says still time for public input

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Paul Davis is defending the province's move to cut the number of seats in the House of Assembly, amid criticism that the process was undemocratic.
Premier Paul Davis says there's time left for public input on the cutting of the number of MHAs 3:13

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Paul Davis is defending the province's move to cut the number of seats in the House of Assembly, amid criticism that the process was undemocratic.

Earlier this week, a group of university professors wrote a letter describing the legislation passed last week as undemocratic and ill-informed, calling on government to drop it.

It took just about a week for the move to turn from an announcement from Davis to law, and the academics said that's not adequate time to ensure the legislature received full debate.

But Davis insists Bill 42 received full debate in the House of Assembly.

"The House of Assembly could have continued debate as long as members in the house wanted that to continue, so there was no rush or push to get it through the house," said Davis.

"No one said you're only allowed to have 10 minutes to talk instead of your 20 minutes."

Premier Davis said the independent committee will have time to hear from the public, but the committee has to come back with eight fewer seats regardless of what it hears from the public.

"We have a process that's open and there will be opportunity for any input from anybody in the province, who wants to have input and have discussion about it," he said.

Members of the committee have yet to be determined, as the house speaker has yet to appoint the four members.

It is supposed to be independent, but it won't be non-partisan.

The NDP and Liberals will get to select one person to serve on the committee, while government will select two people they want to serve.

That committee will have 130 days to report back to the province about where to make the cuts.

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