The legislative legacy of Kathy Dunderdale

Former Newfoundland and Labrador Finance Minister Tom Marshall was sworn in as Premier of that province today following the resignation of Kathy Dunderdale on Wednesday.

Looking back on the legislative history of the NL government under Dunderdale’s premiership, one Bill that garnered significant attention was Bill 29.

This Bill, which amends the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, introduced a number of changes to the way government information was accessed in that province through Access to Information requests. Particularly troubling was the prohibition on the Auditor General’s access to information requests for official cabinet secrets.

At the time of its enactment, this Bill garnered significant criticism from opposition parties and advocacy groups for its effects on government accountability. With Tom Marshall’s swearing in, opposition parties may soon get the opportunity to effect reform on this controversial Bill as statute requires an election to be called no more than a year after Dunderdale’s resignation.