30 APRIL 2014
Green Party leader David Coon will be asking a judge on Thursday to force the Alward government to make public the contracts it had entered into with consultants commissioned to examine shale gas royalties. Coon had filed a request under the Right to Information Act on February 13, 2013 for copies of the contracts. Finance Minister Blaine Higgs refused to release them, so the Green Party leader filed a complaint with the Access to Information Commissioner.
After a 10 month investigation the Access to Information Commissioner, Anne Bertrand recommended that the Minister release the four consultants' contracts to Coon. In a letter to the Green Party leader dated February 24, 2014 the Finance Minister informed Coon that he did not accept Commissioner Bertrand's recommendation, so Coon is appealing to the court for a final decision.
"Like me, New Brunswickers are sick and tired of our governments carrying out the business of the people in secret, hiding their work and suppressing public information," said Green Party leader Coon. "The Right to Information Act is designed to ensure governments do not subvert that right, and it provides for an appeal to the courts when information is denied. I am simply exercising that option," said Coon.
"The people have a right to know who our government is hiring, for what purpose, and at what cost. I am asking the judge to enforce that right," said Coon.