Legislative Briefs
Roland Bailey the lone bidder

Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 23/98) - Finance Minister John Todd confirmed last week that a contract to develop two economic strategies for the NWT and Nunavut will cost the GNWT $500,000. An estimate not identified in the April budget.

"A decision was made to fund this project internally, if possible -- if not, return to the house with supplementary estimates," said Todd.

The awarding of the contract received criticism from ordinary MLAs last week. They wanted to know why the contract was not in the GNWT's main estimates and why the request for the proposal was advertised for only one week.

Roland Bailey and Associates, the lone bidder, was awarded the contract. Todd noted that Bailey will get help to do the job from sub-contractors, including three Northern consultants, two departmental officials along with other government staff.

Access to information report tabled

The Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner has tabled its first ever annual report.

It says that in the last year, 28 review files have been opened by the office. Two cases have been resolved, seven have been withdrawn and another 10 are in the final stages of the review process, said privacy commissioner Elaine Keenan-Bengts.

Of the 28 files, two have resulted in complaints that information provided in a response was incomplete, three have been the result of the government's refusal to provide access to all or some of the records. Seven resulted from the applicant's view the government had not been prompt or thorough enough and 16 were third party objections to the release of information.

The departments of public works and services, health and social services and justice in that order were the public bodies most often involved in the review process.

Government downsizing

While the territorial government continues to trim its civil service in preparation for Nunavut, Yellowknife North MLA Seamus Henry sought reassurance from Premier Don Morin that cuts will not come in the form of layoffs.

"I would ask the premier to give me some clarification of what he meant when he addressed this house last March and said that this government plans no more lay-offs either due to division or to departmental consolidations," asked Henry.

Morin responded quickly again by saying there would be no more layoffs for the remaining duration of this assembly.

"We are going to need a certain amount of people to carry out the functions of the new western governance. What we have done is we have internal staffing that we do. So, some people may be in positions right now that will be a downsized position after division. We have approximately the same number of people on staff as we do positions, he said.