Flap over Kevin O’Brien’s alleged comments needs to be remedied: NDP leader
Premier Kathy Dunderdale is defending Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O’Brien after accusations he threatened to withhold funding for projects in his district and used his power to bully local groups on political issues.
Dunderdale called some of the accusations ludicrous and said she won’t be taking any action against her minister.
According to a CBC News report, O’Brien pushed the Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce to revoke invitations to two NDP members to a community fundraising breakfast.
In a statement, O’Brien said he wanted the chamber of commerce to exclude the New Democrat politicians because he thought the event should be non-political.
More recently, a former member of the chamber of commerce — and the Liberal candidate who ran against O’Brien in 2011 — told CBC that O’Brien threatened to withhold funding to slow down construction on a school in Gander if the NDP politicians were not uninvited.
Dunderdale said that doesn’t even make sense.
“The whole thing is so ludicrous, it doesn’t make any kind of sense to me,” she said.
“I’m not sure what the rationale would be to withhold funding in your own district, how that works for you so that you can attend a pancake breakfast.”
I’ve taken it upon myself to speak with the chamber, who think this whole thing was blown completely out of proportion. Premier Kathy Dunderdale
Dunderdale said she’s talked to the chamber of commerce and as far as she’s concerned, it’s a dead issue.
“I’ve taken it upon myself to speak with the chamber, who think this whole thing was blown completely out of proportion. They say they have a great relationship with the minister, a good relationship with government. They want to put this behind them and move on and that’s fine with me.”
But NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said that because the whole controversy has become public, it needs to be resolved.
She has asked the commissioner of legislative standards to review the accusations.
“I just don’t think the premier should be running away from it. I think now it needs to be dealt with because of the public nature of what’s happening,” she said.