FREDERICTON (GNB) – Legislation was introduced today to make amendments to the Members’ Conflict of Interest Act to make the work of MLA’s and cabinet ministers more transparent and accountable.

“Conflicts of interest undermine a government’s ability to govern,” said Government House Leader Rick Doucet. “It is important that the public have faith and trust in their government, and elected members must be held to higher standards.”

The proposed amendments to the act will ensure greater transparency and diminish the appearance of improprieties or the appearance of the tolerance of improprieties. As well, they address several recommendations made in the Quinquennium Report by former Conflict of Interest Commissioner Patrick Ryan, Q.C.

“I am pleased that these amendments have been introduced,” said Conflict of Interest Commissioner Alexandre Deschênes, Q.C. “The conflict of interest regime is a work in progress and improvements, adjustments and refinements such as those introduced today are required over time to adapt to contemporary circumstances and safeguard the public interest.”

The amendments also incorporate commitments made by the government, including extending the ‘cooling-off period’ for former members of the legislative assembly from 12 months to 48 months to be eligible for an appointment, and ensuring that politicians and senior civil servants follow the rules by enhancing whistle-blower legislation.

“These proposed amendments will make all MLAs, our government and future governments, accountable,” said Doucet. “We strongly believe that a legislature and a government is only effective if it is accountable.”