Last year Islanders voted for a change in government. After 12 years of Ghiz and MacLachlan rule we were ready for something different. As the one year anniversary approaches we can see some things are different and yet some remain very much the same.
Many appreciate the change in tone. We never really warmed to the autocratic aspect of Wade nor the nepotism aspect of Robert Ghiz. Dennis King’s friendly approach seemed more like what we wanted: down home, hanging around the local gathering spot, swapping stories while roads get paved and contracts get handed out.
What’s puzzling though is why, after promising transparency, Dennis continues to emulate some of the worst practices from his Liberal predecessors. The e-gaming scandal was not a Tory scandal until 9 months ago, now it is falls squarely on the shoulders of the current government. All that Dennis had to do was answer the same questions that they had asked when they were in opposition. Instead they have doubled down on double-speak and obfuscation. Someone is benefitting either financially or politically, or both, from hiding this information. The King government can no longer blame anyone else. This scandal, born of a different administration has now matured under King’s watch.
Why does the Information Commissioner continually have to challenge the government to disclose documents that should be part of public record? If documents between the Liberal premier and his chief of staff were deleted, that need not have been Dennis’ responsibility- now it is. He has a choice to make: to continue supporting a select few who benefit from secret deals and contracts, or to be transparent. He cannot do both.
He could start with stating how much has been paid to lawyers to defend the e-gaming lawsuit and who is responsible for the deletion of government records. He can follow that with immediately disclosing the documents that have been requested and denied to date.
Joe Byrne, Leader
Island New Democrats