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

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Right to Know Week II


It's like Right to Know Week has come round for the second time this fall!

Minister Outlines Public’s Right to Know Salary Details of Salaried Physicians

The Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Health and Community Services, today stated that it was within his right to release information regarding salary details of salaried physicians.

"As the Minister of Health and Community Services, I believe that the public has a right to know salary details related to salaried physicians, paid from public tax dollars," said Minister Kennedy. "This is a matter of significant public concern. Part of government’s responsibility is to ensure the public has access to complete and accurate information to allow them to fully understand the nature of the issue under discussion, in this case, the resignation of a number of salaried specialists."

Minister Kennedy said the Privacy Commissioner has ruled in previous decisions that the public has a right to know this type of information. In an April 16, 2008 decision, the commissioner ruled that where salaries and benefits are paid from the public purse, the public has a right to know "not only the amounts to which an employee is entitled, but, for example, the amounts of severance pay or reimbursements for expenses actually received."

"This particular group of physicians made compensation a very public issue and government has an obligation to ensure that the public has full details," said Minister Kennedy.

The public nature of this kind of information is supported by its routine public release in some other provinces. Both British Columbia and Manitoba have legislation which requires them to disclose, on an annual basis, salaries of physicians and other public servants.

Minister Kennedy also outlined the breakdown of 10 weeks of annual leave for salaried specialists, as referenced yesterday. This breakdown includes four weeks of annual leave, two weeks of study leave, one week of compensatory leave, one week of miscellaneous leave and nine statutory holidays.

It is most curious to see the good Minister citing legislation in British Columbia and Manitoba, considering that his province is neither British Columbia nor Manitoba, and does not have a British Columbia- or Manitoba-style provision in its own provincial law.

It is doubly curious, given that on at least one occasion in the relatively recent past, when it was suggested that We might wish to model Our legislation on that of another jurisdiction, We went clean off Our head:
MR. PARSONS: If having these independent and impartial positions on the selection committee is good enough for the country on the Order of Canada, why are they not good enough for our Province?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, it is a shame that the hon. gentleman opposite and his colleagues are minimizing what we have done here. We have bestowed an indeed greater honour again on the people who are members of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador to be able to participate in that selection committee.

Now, if I take his advice and we follow what Canada does, then we would not have our $2 billion Accord money, or we would not be out trying to get custodial management, or we would not have the Upper Churchill boondoggle that we have now.

I am sorry, Sir, I am just not going to follow what the Government of Canada does. We are going to stand on our own and (inaudible).

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