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MLA ethics training unveiled

The Liberals introduced amendments to have all MLAs undergo ethics training yesterday.

The Liberals introduced amendments to have all MLAs undergo ethics training yesterday.

Law amendments introduced would also create a code of ethics and expand the role of the conflict of interest commissioner to deal with ethical issues.

“Our amendments will focus on training for new MLAs and returning MLAs on ethical behaviour,” Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil said.

“Spell out ethical behaviour in clear and simple language and settle a process to deal with any alleged violation.”

A proposed Liberal code of conduct would include such clauses as “I am a steward of the public trust” and “I do not use my office or the resources of the province for personal gain.”

Under the proposed amendments, the conflict of interest commissioner would have the power to rule a member violated the code. The commissioner could publicly reprimand a member but not punish them. McNeil said that would be up to voters.

“I don’t believe Nova Scotians or the voting public will tolerate that kind of political mischief. It will be dealt with on election day in my view,” he said.

McNeil hopes to amend the government’s House of Assembly management Commission Act, which was created in response to the expense scandal. Its measures include making all expenses public and abolishing the secretive Internal Economy Board.

Premier Darrell Dexter welcomed the idea, but said it would take time to analyze the amendments and what is done in other jurisdictions before adopting the changes.

“Certainly we’re pleased to receive suggestions. We’ll obviously consider them,” he said.