1st Session, 60th General Assembly
55 Elizabeth II, 2006
First Reading: July 5, 2006
Second Reading: July 7, 2006
Third Reading: November 23, 2006 (WITH COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS) (LINK TO BILL AS PASSED)
(a) incorporates the Ministerial Code of Conduct into the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act;
(b) adds to the Code a duty for a minister of the Crown to report a possible conflict of interest and, in such case, an obligation on the Executive Council to appoint another minister to act in the ministerís place; and
(c) amends the Code to enable a member of the House of Assembly or any person to make a complaint to or ask a question of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner respecting the Code.
1 Clause 3(fa) of Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1991, the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act, is repealed and the following clause substituted:
3 The Schedule to Chapter 4 is amended by adding "A" immediately after "SCHEDULE" in the first line.
4 Chapter 4 is further amended by adding immediately after the Schedule the following Schedule:
The public is entitled to expect ministers of the Crown to act in a way that ensures that the public interest is always paramount. No document can properly address every situation in which ministers are called upon to make a decision as to what is in the public interest. This Code is intended to provide guidelines and a process that must be interpreted with common sense and in the spirit of public service.
Nothing in this Code is intended to limit a minister's ability to carry out the usual responsibilities of a member of the House of Assembly on behalf of his or her constituents and constituency, in accordance with the parliamentary conventions of Nova Scotia.
1. Ministers must be truthful and forthright. Ministers must not deceive or knowingly mislead the House of Assembly or the public, or permit or encourage agents of the Government to deceive or mislead the House or the public.
(b) Ministers must not accept any personal benefits in any business dealing, acquire any position or undertake any function or have any financial, commercial or other interest that is incompatible with their offices or duties.
(c) Ministers must disclose all personal property, assets and liabilities held by themselves and members of their immediate families in accordance with the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act.
(d) A minister must disqualify himself or herself from any decision-making process where the minister knows or ought reasonably to know that there is an opportunity to further the minister's private interest or to improperly seek to further another person's private interest.
(e) In any decision-making process where the minister knows or ought reasonably to know that there is an opportunity to further the minister's private interest or to improperly seek to further another person's private interest, the minister shall
(g) A minister must not use or permit the use of information that is obtained in his or her capacity as a minister and that is not generally available to the public to further or to seek to further the minister's private interest, or to improperly seek to further the private interest of another person.
(g) Ministers may not solicit or accept, either directly or indirectly, a gift or other benefit from any person or organization who has dealings with the Government where the gift or benefit is such that it could reasonably be perceived to have influenced the minister in the performance of his or her duties.
(h) Ministers may accept gifts, hospitality or other benefits if the presentation is a normal expression of courtesy or protocol that does not bring the minister's objectivity into question, the gift was clearly intended for the minister personally and the value of the item is less than $250.00.
(i) A gift or benefit of a value of $250.00 or greater should be declined. When this is not possible, it should be disclosed to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and the minister must either donate any gift of a value of $250.00 or greater to the Province or pay to the Province an equivalent amount as approved by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.
4. Ministers must respect the responsibilities and obligations placed on public servants and, in particular, those that require that senior public servants avoid conduct that could give rise to the perception that they are not politically impartial.
7. A Minister may engage in the activities prohibited by clauses 6(a) to 6(f) if the minister has disclosed all material facts to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and the Conflict of Interest Commissioner is satisfied that no conflict exists.
8. A minister who has reason to believe that he or she has a conflict of interest with respect to a matter that requires the minister's decision shall report that possible conflict of interest to the Premier and ask the Executive Council to appoint another minister to perform the member's duties in the matter and the Executive Council shall appoint another minister to perform those duties for such time as is necessary to avoid a possible conflict of interest.
9. The Conflict of Interest Commissioner, upon receipt of a complaint or question forwarded to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner by resolution of the House of Assembly, the Executive Council, a member of the House of Assembly or any person, may investigate, report and make recommendations or responses in writing to the House, the Executive Council, the member or the person, as the case may be.
(c) The decision and recommendation of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner shall be provided to the House of Assembly by delivery of a copy of the report to the Clerk of the House and made public within 30 days of the referral of the complaint by the Executive Council, the House, the member or other person.
(d) The House of Assembly shall determine whether the recommendation of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner shall be accepted, rejected, modified or amended and the decision of the House is binding.