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Minister to cover SUV damages

A cabinet minister whose teenage son crashed her government-leased SUVwhile making an ice cream run says she, not the taxpayer, will now payfor the damages.

A cabinet minister whose teenage son crashed her government-leased SUV while making an ice cream run says she, not the taxpayer, will now pay for the damages.


Community Services Minister Judy Streatch told reporters that her 17-year-old son Jordan lost control of the 2008 Ford Escape hybrid Saturday night on his way with his girlfriend to buy ice cream at a store near their New Ross home.


She said she didn’t agree to pay for the repairs right away because she misinterpreted the government’s personal use premium and didn’t realize taxpayers would be on the hook for damages, which are still being assessed.


“I understand the way the insurance works now,” she said. “It’s not a typical insurance policy whereby a nameless company is responsible.


“My children will not drive government vehicles, understanding that that’s the way the insurance works and it’s a lesson learned for me and my son.”


Streatch said she believed she was following the rules after asking her staff to check with the Transportation Department to see if her son had permission to drive the vehicle.


But Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Murray Scott said yesterday that Streatch didn’t have the proper authorization. She needed written permission from her deputy minister including a copy of her son’s drivers’ licence.


Scott said no other minister has filed such paperwork.


“It clearly shows that all of us don’t have a clear understanding of the policy,” he said.


He said he intends to review the policy and communicate the changes to the public.


David Wilson, Liberal MLA of Glace Bay, said he agrees Streatch should pay for the damages out of her own pocket, adding that family members should not be driving cabinet minister’s government-leased vehicles.


“It’s not for personal use if you’re at home and you want to send someone to the store to get some ice cream,” he said. “That’s not what the vehicle was intended for.”


-lindsay.jones@metronews.ca


 
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