FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government introduced legislation today aimed at ensuring New Brunswickers are better informed about promises made by political parties during election campaigns.

The Transparency in Election Commitments Act would require political parties to publish and file cost estimates for their election promises. Each registered political party would be required to do this in order to qualify for its annual allowance under the Political Process Financing Act.

“After receiving the recommendations of the New Brunswick Commission on Electoral Reform, the government promised that it would introduce legislation to implement an election commitment costing process that had consequences for non-compliance,” said deputy government house leader Lisa Harris. “This new act fulfils that promise, improving accountability and transparency in the democratic process in our province.”

Similar legislation was in place during the 2014 election but did not include provisions to ensure political parties were compliant during the election period. This new legislation was introduced as Bill 61 on March 29, but did not pass prior to the end of that legislative session.

This legislation is the latest in a series of steps the government has taken to support transparency and accountability and to improve the functioning of the legislature. Others include:

  • Proclaiming the Lobbyist Registration Act effective April 1.
  • Amending the Political Process Financing Act to eliminate political contributions by corporations and trade unions and to eliminate the loophole that allowed politicians and political parties to issue loans greater than the donation limit.
  • Changing the daily agenda of legislative procedures with the intention of focusing on more substantive debate issues.
  • Publishing expense reports for MLAs online each quarter.
  • Creating an all-party legislative committee to draft a code of conduct for members of the legislative assembly.