FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Charlottetown, PE (April 29, 2013) – Mike Redmond, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Prince Edward Island, is expressing concern that the Progressive Conservative Official Opposition in the PEI Legislative Assembly is not asking questions about the sudden departure of Melissa MacEachern from her position as Deputy Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning.
“The work of this particular deputy minister has come under scrutiny in Auditor General Reports for both 2012 and 2013. The Opposition should be asking for an explanation of her sudden departure and performance reports on her various areas of responsibility,” said Redmond.
The 2013 Auditor General’s Report had numerous observations and recommendations regarding Skills PEI which manages over $30 million annually in federally sourced training funds and falls under the responsibility of the Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning. Former Auditor General Colin Younker critically reviewed contract management of professional services with Tourism PEI for the period from 2009 to 2011 when Ms. MacEachern was serving there as Deputy Minister.
“It was announced three weeks ago that after six years Ms. MacEachern would be leaving her employment with the provincial government. It was very sudden. The Ghiz government has not even had time to formally name a new Deputy Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning,” the NDP Leader stated.
On April 8, the provincial government indicated that Ms. MacEachern would be leaving her post on April 19 and returning to work at UPEI where she had previously been employed. The provincial cabinet formally rescinded Ms. MacEachern’s appointment as Deputy Minister as of April 20. Finance PEI Chief Executive Officer, Neil Stewart has been put in place as Acting Deputy Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning.
“The government should be explaining what has happened here and reassuring Islanders that measures have been taken to address issues arising from Ms. MacEachern’s work. Besides the discussions in Auditor General Reports, we have other issues riddled with unanswered questions from her most recent position such as the Testori deal, the Holman Grand debacle, and a PNP report mentioned in the media but not formally published. These are matters involving many millions of dollars. Since the government is not offering this information, the Opposition PCs should be pushing for it. The bottom line is that there has to be accountability for mistakes made”, concluded Redmond.
Leader, NDP PEI