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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 15, 2017

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

Questions Remain Unanswered Concerning Government’s Relationship With Law Firm

 

 

 

Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, said, “When you consider everything that has been said by Finance Minister Tom Osborne, the contradictions are glaring regarding his statements on the government's relationship with McInnes Cooper, the outside law firm hired by the Liberals for guidance on collective bargaining."

 

 

 

Hutchings said, "In the House of Assembly on August 8, the Minister said he decided to sever ties with the law firm, however before he communicated his decision, McInnes Cooper had withdrawn their services."

 

 

 

"In recent days, media are reporting it was the Minister who decided to withdraw the services of the law firm. Which version of events is correct? Did the Minister drop the firm or did the firm drop the provincial government?"

 

 

 

"Why is the Minister continuing to meet with the law firm for advice on public sector negotiations when the Minister clearly communicated that the process was beginning from a fresh start? Are the ties really severed, or are they not? Will the law firm be billing the province for any of these new meetings? If the new Minister wants to know what was done by the firm, why doesn't he simply ask the officials in the Department of Finance, or better still, the former Minister of Finance?"‎

 

 

 

"Premier Dwight Ball has also backtracked on the hiring of the law firm. Since early 2016, he has supported and defended the hiring of McInnes Cooper and the significant cost associated with it. It now appears that Premier Ball and the Liberal government support the termination of the relationship."

 

 

 

"What has changed? The Liberals stated that the lack of resources was the reason for hiring the firm. Does the government now suddenly have the internal resources to guide negotiations?"

 

 

 

"This about-face is a familiar pattern for the Liberal administration. The Premier and his Cabinet ought to have the political courage to admit it was not a good use of taxpayers' dollars while they were slashing funding to programs and services elsewhere," said Hutchings.

 

 

 

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications,

 

Office of the Official Opposition, (709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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