No changes needed for parliamentary privilege in N.S.: attorney general
Finance Minister Diana Whalen fields questions about the Nova Scotia budget at the legislature in Halifax on Thursday, April 9, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's attorney general will not make any changes to parliamentary privilege, saying the practice is still relevant and has only been questioned once in recent memory.
Diana Whalen sent a letter to the chief clerk of the house this week to inform him of the results of a months-long review of parliamentary privilege in Nova Scotia and other jurisdictions.
Whalen launched the review after former Liberal MLA Andrew Younger invoked his privilege to avoid testifying at the trial of a woman accused of assaulting him.
That court case was thrown out when Younger failed to appear.
In Whalen's letter to Neil Ferguson, she says testimonial immunity is recognized as a parliamentary privilege across the Commonwealth, but is rarely used.
She says the review shows privilege is still relevant in Nova Scotia, and the case involving Younger is the time in recent memory that it has been questioned.
Whalen says parliamentary privilege needs to be better understood by all sitting members, and asks that it be included in future MLA orientation.