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Newfoundland and Labrador.

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In 2004 the House of Assembly amended the House of Assembly Act to provide for fixed election dates quadrennially on the second Tuesday of October. The Forty-Fifth General Assembly was dissolved on September 17th and the General Election took place on October 9th. The results were: 43 Progressive Conservatives, three Liberals and one New Democrat elected.

There was a judicial recount in the District of the Isles of Notre Dame which had been held by Leader of the Opposition Gerry Reid as there was a difference of only seven votes between the Progressive Conservative, Derrick Dally and the incumbent. Upon completion of the recount on November 8th Mr. Dalley, the Progressive Conservative candidate, was confirmed as the Member for the District by a 12-vote margin.

In the District of Grand Falls Windsor--Buchans the election had to be postponed owing to the untimely death of the Liberal candidate, Dr. Gerry Tobin, on October 1. The seat was won by Susan Sullivan, the Progressive Conservative candidate, at the election on November 6th increasing the number of Progressive Conservative seats to 44.

The Members elected on October 9th were sworn on November 1st. Roger Fitzgerald, Member for Bonavista South, was acclaimed Speaker. Mr. Fitzgerald was twice acclaimed as the other candidate for the District of Bonavista South, Clayton Hobbs had to withdraw from the campaign because of illness. Jack Byrne was elected Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees and Tom Osborne was elected Deputy Chair of Committees.

Auditor General Reports

On September 14th the Auditor General tabled a review of Constituency Allowance Claims for the period 1989-90 to 2005-06. The review identified inappropriate expenditures and claims for which there was no documentation or inadequate documentation. The Auditor stated in the Report that he is confident that with the adoption of the Green Commission Report and the restoration of independent scrutiny by the Auditor General and Comptroller General and the hiring of professional accountants to staff the Corporate and Members' Services Division of the House of Assembly the financial management and controls have significantly improved.

On September 17th the Auditor General table a report pursuant to section 16 of the Auditor General Act which allows the Auditor General to "inquire into and report on a person or organization that has received financial aid from the government of the province or in respect of which financial aid from the government of the province is sought." The House, by Resolution, had requested that the Auditor General investigate and report on the Government's decision to invest $15 million in the installation of a fibre optic link between St. John's and Halifax. The Auditor General concluded, inter alia, that there was no evidence that the Premier was involved in the project; that although the Department concerned had not complied with the Guidelines for Hiring External Consultants nor the Atlantic Procurement Agreement it had complied with the Public Tender Act; that Government had exercised due diligence in assessing the proposal and negotiating the final agreement although the initial assessment process at the department level had been weak and that the Province had received good value for its investment.

Access To Information And Protection of Privacy Act

Pursuant to Recommendation No. 6 of the Report of Commissioner J. Derek Green "Rebuilding Confidence" the Access To Information And Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPPA) now applies to the House of Assembly and statutory offices. Personal and constituency records of a Member; records of a registered political party; House of Assembly records the non-disclosure of which is required for the protection of the privileges of the House and records connected with the investigatory functions of Statutory Offices are among those records which are exempt from ATIPPA.

The ATIPP co-ordinator and senior privacy analyst for the House of Assembly has received 174 requests for information since October 9th when the sections of the House of Assembly Accountability, Integrity and Administration Act relating to the application of ATIPPA to the House and related offices came into force.

Whistle Blower Legislation

The House of Assembly Accountability Integrity And Administration Act includes measures providing protection for whistle blowers within the House of Assembly service. The Premier made a commitment during the election campaign to introduce similar legislation for Government as a whole. It is expected that this legislation will be introduced when the House next sits.

The Deputy Premier, Tom Rideout advised on October 17th that the Forty-Sixth General Assembly would open in the Spring of 2008.

Elizabeth Murphy

Clerk Assistant
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Title Annotation:Legislative Reports
Author:Murphy, Elizabeth
Publication:Canadian Parliamentary Review
Article Type:Conference notes
Geographic Code:1CNEW
Date:Dec 22, 2007
Words:746
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