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PC caucus requests new vote, claiming an error during Wednesday’s public accounts meeting

Conservatives change stance on forensic audit of Island Employment

3 min read
The Nova Scotia Legislature building is shown.
caption Nova Scotia PCs have asked for a revote of a motion to audit Island Employment, claiming they made an error in voting the motion down.
Joe thomson

The strange saga of Island Employment continues.

A motion during Wednesday’s committee meeting requesting an audit of the disgraced Cape Breton employment agency that mishandled public funds did not pass

Nova Scotia Progressive Conservatives now say their decision to vote against the motion was made in error.

A party representative confirmed that PC MLA Nolan Young, the vIce-chair of the committee, wrote a letter after Wednesday’s meeting to Liberal committee chair Kelly Regan. The letter, which has not been made public, asked for another vote to be held so his party could support the motion. 

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Conservatives voted down the motion, brought forward by NDP MLA Susan LeBlanc, after a brief recess, which they had requested to discuss the motion. 

“I believe that they made an error in voting down the motion, of course. But I don’t believe they made a mistake when they did it,” said NDP MLA and member of the public accounts committee Claudia Chender.

Claudia Chender is shown wearing a mask during a meeting at the Nova Scotia Legislature.
caption NDP MLA Claudia Chender is glad that PCs have requested a revote concerning the forensic audit of Island Employment.
Claire Henry

“They made a decision at the time not to support it. I’m glad to see that they have changed their minds, or been instructed to change their minds,” said Chender.

Deputy labour minister Ava Czapalay said during Wednesday’s meeting that she did not believe an audit would find more information than William A. Smith, Nova Scotia’s ombudsman, found during his investigation of Island Employment.

“The auditor general has a lot of autonomy. It’s up to her to determine whether or not to undertake the audit, which I should point out, she would be well within her purview to do whether or not the PCs voted to request it from her,” said Chender.

Nova Scotia auditor general Kim Adair declined comment on whether her office will pursue an audit of Island Employment, regardless of the results of the PCs’ request for a revote.

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