Bill quashing Liberal trust fund use passes unanimously

Amendments to a bill that ends the Liberal Opposition's use of acontroversial $2.3-million trust fund quickly passed third reading inthe Nova Scotia legislature Thursday - with help from a seeminglyunlikely source.

 

Amendments to a bill that ends the Liberal Opposition's use of a controversial $2.3-million trust fund quickly passed third reading in the Nova Scotia legislature Thursday - with help from a seemingly unlikely source.

 

The Liberals joined the governing NDP and third-place Conservatives in unanimously endorsing a bill introduced Tuesday that also redrafts the province's rules for political fundraising by banning corporate and union donations.

 

The amendments to the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act are to go into effect Jan. 1.

 

After earlier complaints that the New Democrats were looking to "cripple" his party by attacking its coffers, Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil told reporters the decision to vote for the bill was his alone.

"It was my direction and I take full responsibility,'' he said "This issue, it needs to be behind us. It needs to be behind the party.''

The decision cuts the Liberals off from hundreds of thousands of dollars earned from a trust fund that has long been a target of derision by the NDP and the Tories.

In the 1970s, Liberal fundraisers were prosecuted for raising funds illegally and putting them into trust funds.

Party officials eventually had a forensic audit done in the 1990s and had since maintained parts of the fund that may have been inappropriately raised had been removed.

 
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