Politicians in N.B. continue to debate $23M Liberal bailout
Published Thursday, August 8, 2019 12:02AM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, August 8, 2019 4:09PM ADT
Politicians in New Brunswick continue to discuss whether or not any laws were broken when the former Liberal government granted a nearly $23M bailout package to the city of Saint John. However, some say they’re not nearing a conclusion.
In June, a report by New Brunswick's auditor general, Kim MacPherson, brought attention to the bailout package which would provide $22.8M for the city over three years – a deal she said came with "excessive risk."
On Wednesday at the New Brunswick Legislature, politicians continued attempts to answer many unanswered questions raised since MacPherson’s report, who also answered questions.
Liberals maintain nothing illegal happened.
“Legislation was followed for Liberal MLA, this Saint John deal, the government of the day had full financial authority to provide interim funding, which we did,” said Liberal MLA, Andrew Harvey. “I respect the auditor general tremendously and the work that she does, but I don't think our committee is here to just give a blank cheque to everything that's said in her reports.”
Green Party MLA, Megan Mitton believes attention must turn to improving the city’s financial outlook.
Saint John asked for reform, and that was the key thing that they asked for,” said Mitton. “At this point. I'm concerned that that's not going to be the real ultimate outcome.”
A report released last month outlined some of the issues facing Saint John, noting the city has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, as well as the highest tax rate in New Brunswick,
Meanwhile, some MLA's say tax reform is needed.
Saint John mayor, Don Darling was contacted for an interview but was unavailable.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown