Being forced to not be secretive isn’t cause for celebration: MacKay
Kensington – Eight years of stonewalling by government on details of its secret, multimillion dollar Internet and phone contract with Bell Aliant isn’t cause for celebration, says Kensington-Malpeque MLA and Opposition Economic Development and Tourism Critic Matthew MacKay.
“For more than eight years Islanders have been trying to get details about government’s phone and Internet deal with Bell Aliant involving millions of taxpayer dollars only to be stonewalled at every turn. It took the threat of subpoena by a Legislative Committee and an order from the Privacy Commissioner so that Islander might finally learn more about this secret deal that we’re still paying for,” says MacKay.
In 2009 government signed an untendered, multi-million dollar, multi-year contract with Bell Aliant for government phone services and to extend high-speed Internet across Prince Edward Island. Numerous attempts by Opposition MLA’s and the media to obtain details of the secret contract were stymied by the government as it twice secretly extended the contract without tender. Months of pressure at the Standing Committee on Education and Economic Development by Opposition MLA’s leading to partial release of a heavily redacted version of the contract and culminating in a decision by the province’s Information and Privacy Commissioner ordering the contract’s full release.
“The bottom line here is that taxpayers have shelled out millions for a service that many are not receiving and the public still have legitimate questions about why eight years later. I’m not sure that’s cause for a congratulatory press release from government,” says MacKay.