Nova Scotia PCs to take Liberal government to court over ferry cost information

The Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative caucus has announced it is planning to challenge in court the Liberal government’s refusal to release information related to the cost of the Yarmouth, N.S., ferry service.

In January, Nova Scotia’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal refused to comply with a formal recommendation by the province’s privacy commissioner to reveal how much taxpayers are paying Bay Ferries to run its service to Maine.

PC leader Tim Houston announced Sunday morning at his party’s annual general meeting in Halifax that he will fight that refusal in court. 

“We should not have to take the government to court to find out how our taxpayer money is being spent … this is an extraordinary step,” he said. 
 
He said he will file a notice to appeal in Nova Scotia Supreme Court Monday morning. 

Back in December, privacy commissioner Catherine Tully released a 17-page report that called on the Transportation Department to make public the management fee and potential bonuses paid to Bay Ferries for operating the CAT ferry service. 

Tully disagreed with the Transportation Department’s argument releasing the information could be commercially harmful to Bay Ferries as it would reveal the total costs to operate the service.  

She chided the department for withholding information related to the contract since requests were filed through Freedom of Information in 2016. The PC caucus and reporters from Global and AllNovaScotia.com appealed to the privacy commission for a review after their requests were denied. 

Houston accused the McNeil current government of betting on people not having the resources to take them to court. 

“Tomorrow they’ll find out this was a bad bet,” he said.

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