Nova Scotia

N.S. premier to give opposition members more tools to hold government to account

Premier Tim Houston says he wants his government held to account and he's giving opposition MLAs a tool to do it. Houston told reporters on Thursday that he intends to remove some of the restrictions the former Liberal government placed upon the legislature's once-powerful public accounts committee.

Once-powerful legislature committee to regain some of its strength

Premier Tim Houston says he expects his government to be held to account and opposition members need the tools to do that. (CBC)

Premier Tim Houston says he wants his government held to account and he's giving opposition MLAs a tool to do it.

Houston told reporters on Thursday that he intends to remove some of the restrictions the former Liberal government placed upon the legislature's once-powerful public accounts committee.

"It's the right thing to do in terms of accountability," he said.

"The decisions that a government makes, they should be willing to defend in public forums and my government will be no different."

In 2018, the Liberal government under Stephen McNeil put a limit on the topics that could be discussed, restricting them to matters previously covered in reports by the auditor general.

The Liberals later reduced the frequency of the meetings to once a month. They justified the move, in part, by creating a health committee.

Changes will come after Speaker elected

Prior to that, the meetings covered a wide range of topics and routinely created challenges for the government. On Thursday, Houston said that's how it should be.

"There's only so many mechanisms that the opposition really has to hold the government to account and public accounts is one of them."

The premier said the legislature will elect a House Speaker on Sept. 24, ahead of the start of the autumn sitting in mid-October. With a Speaker in place, Houston said the structure of committees can take shape.

This is the third accountability measure Houston has pledged since his party formed government last month.

He previously promised fixed election dates would come to Nova Scotia, and that the province's information and privacy commissioner would get order-making power and become an independent officer of the legislature.

MORE TOP STORIES

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now