"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Affairs of State

You have to wonder... if Minister Joan Burke is so very concerned, wearing her Minister Joan Burke hat, about "taxpayers expenditures" and "days of excess"... then why is this press release, identical in style and tone to a zillion others issued during the Danny Williams-Government years, published to The Party website, and not the Danny Williams-Government one?

For immediate release
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

House of Assembly Management Commission working just as it ought to: Burke

The Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Education, MHA for St. George's - Stephenville East and Government House leader today responded to unwarranted accusations by the Leader of the Official Opposition that the House of Assembly Management Commission is ineffective.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," said Minister Burke. "In fact, decisions like those made today underscore the purpose of the Management Commission which is to ensure that decisions made regarding taxpayers expenditures on Members of the House of Assembly are done with great thought and consideration. The Commission is not just a rubber stamp to hand out money to the opposition parties. The people of the province expect more than that; they expect better of their politicians."

Today, the Commission discussed the recommendations of an independent study on levels of expenses for each of the caucuses in the House of Assembly. Following the last Provincial General Election, it was agreed by all parties that the Liberal and NDP Caucuses would receive an additional $100,000 in base funding pending this report. Minister Burke says base funding for caucuses should be equal, and whereas the government caucus did not receive additional funding after the provincial election it should receive it now. This is a practice followed in other jurisdictions such as Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.

Based on recommendations of government members at the Commission today, the breakdown of funding for each caucus in the House of Assembly would be:

Progressive Conservatives (44 member caucus*) - $593,000
Liberals (3 member caucus) - $456,600
NDP (1 member caucus) - $244,800
*note: the money allocated to caucuses deducts Cabinet Ministers therefore only 25 members are included in the formula for purposes of this allocation

"When you look at the number of caucus members for each party and the corresponding allocation of monies, it is clear that the Liberal party is most certainly not being disadvantaged," added Minister Burke. "For Ms. Jones to complain about lack of funding is extremely unwarranted. The days of excess in the House of Assembly are over."

The Minister also pointed that while Ms. Jones is quick to point to the report of Chief Justice Green and his recommendation that caucus resources were to be reviewed, she failed to acknowledge that her caucus has already been the recipient of a large increase since the last Provincial General Election.

"Chief Justice Green said the situation should be reviewed. It has been reviewed and under our recommendations the Official Opposition will receive $111, 600 more than the allocation formula that was in place after the last provincial election, even though they have substantially fewer seats. Government caucuses have a right to equal base funding as opposition caucuses," added the Minister. "They do no have departments or public workers at their disposal and they deserve equal treatment. Ms. Jones must answer why her caucus deserves more money than everyone else who were equally elected to represent the people of their districts. Each and every district and individual in this province should be equal."

The House of Assembly Management Commission will reconvene in the coming weeks to make a final decision.


Media contact:
Donna Ivey
Communications Manager
Government Members' Office
709-729-0898, 697-1424


At 12:59 PM, October 21, 2008 , Blogger Mark said...

"Nothing could be further from the truth"

My god, she's good.


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