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Internal economy board opens up in wake of spending scandal

The closed door has been kicked down.

The closed door has been kicked down.

Nova Scotia’s internal economy board will meet today in public for the first time as it begins the overhaul of the disgraced MLA expense system.

The board, made up of a group of MLAs from all parties, previously met in secret and over the years crafted the system auditor general Jacques Lapointe criticized as enabling abuse of public money.

In the wake of the expense scandal that grew out of Lapointe’s report, Premier Darrell Dexter announced he was opening up the system. This spring the government will put forward new legislation to replace the board with an open commission.

In the meantime the board will hold what will probably be its final meeting today at 1 p.m. in the legislature to take the first steps of reform.

Dexter said the board will set a deadline for all political expenses to be posted online. It is also expected to require receipts for all expenses. Under current rules, MLAs can claim as much as $48,000 per year without providing receipts.

The board will also receive an interim report by former speaker Art Donahoe on how to fix the system. His full report is expected in July.

 
 
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