Edited legislature video posted by N.S. MLA stirs controversy
Published Wednesday, April 6, 2016 8:25PM ADT
A Nova Scotia MLA has found himself in hot water for uploading an edited version of house proceedings on his Facebook page.
Tory MLA Tim Houston posted a video of public accounts, recorded for official records. Houston had the Hansard video edited down from two hours to four minutes and 20 seconds.
The video was posted on March 30. The Liberal government demanded it be taken down shortly after.
Houston feels he did nothing wrong.
“I was completely taken aback,” said Houston. “I think that the video that we had up on the public accounts was a very informative piece about facts around the contract of the Yarmouth ferry situation."
The Speaker of the House says since the video was edited it was, by definition, partisan and posting it violated house rules.
“(It allows the editor) to select things that are advantageous to their point of view, and it doesn't allow for the viewers to see the complete proceedings and the complete exchange,” said Nova Scotia Legislature Speaker Kevin Murphy.
The solution offered by the speaker was to post a link to the full two-hour public accounts committee meeting.
Dalhousie law professor Wayne MacKay says it's time to update house rules to accommodate the reality of social media.
"The rules against editing, I understand, in terms of keeping it accurate, but, in terms of really suggesting that somebody's going to go online and look at a whole lengthy hearing, it's not going to happen," said MacKay.
Murphy says changes are coming to the way house video is made available to the public. However, there are not any changes being contemplated to the policy on editing.
Houston removed the video from his Facebook page. If he continued to refuse, he could have been removed from the legislature.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ron Shaw.