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Premier ready to legislate for added Nalcor transparency

Premier Dwight Ball speaks with reporters at Confederation Building on Wednesday.
Premier Dwight Ball speaks with reporters at Confederation Building on Wednesday. - Ashley Fitzpatrick

Government investigating amendments to Energy Corporation Act, Ball says

On the heels of a new ruling from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, Premier Dwight Ball said he’s ready to make legislative amendments to provide for added public disclosure of information on embedded contractors by Nalcor Energy.

In a decision made public Wednesday, Commissioner Donovan Molloy stated the protective provisions within the Energy Corporation Act prevail over the provisions for disclosure under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. It means details such as embedded contractor company names and hourly rates remain under wraps for now.

The premier said government staff already started reviewing the legislation and considering what amendments might look like.

Nalcor Energy secrets secured by law

“This is a Crown corporation, this is public funds, and I think the people of this province have a right to know how their money is being spent,” he told reporters when asked about the ruling.

When the Energy Corporation Act was put in place, Ball said, the legislation was too restrictive on the flow of information.

Ball said he would like to see something brought in for debate as soon as the spring sitting, but would not commit to it as a certainty, given the review work required.

The government is also taking a broad look at the access issue, he said, and has not ruled out amendments applicable to other agencies, boards and commissions if required.

“What’s important is we get this right this time and that we put in place the legislative amendments that are required to make sure we have the public disclosure that’s required,” he said.

As for the work of the Muskrat Falls inquiry, Ball said the inquiry commissioner, unlike a member of the public, has the power to obtain information about embedded contractors as needed.

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