Kelvin Parsons, Opposition House Leader and MHA for the District of
Burgeo-Lapoile, says amendments passed last night to the Order of
Newfoundland and Labrador Act diminish the non-political nature and
accomplishment of receiving the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. The
amendments will remove the Chief Justice of the Newfoundland and Labrador
Supreme Court and the President of Memorial University from the selection
committee and replace them with political appointments made by the Premier.
The Order of Newfoundland and Labrador was created in 2001 to honour
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have made significant contributions to
our province. Anyone can make nominations for this award and the selection
was made by an Advisory Committee, made up of 7 persons - 4 chosen by the
Premier, the Clerk of the Executive Council, the President of Memorial
University and chaired by the Chief Justice of Newfoundland and Labrador.
"I was very disappointed that the Premier decided to remove the two
non-partisan positions from the selection committee for this prestigious
award," said Mr. Parsons. "Our selection process was patterned after the
process used by The Order of Canada which includes the Chief Justice of
Canada and the Chair of the Federation of Universities. By removing these
two positions and allowing the Premier to make the extra two appointments
takes away from the non-biased and non-partisan nature of this award.
"This decision by government is blatant political interference. The
abilities, the talents, the accomplishments and contributions of the
recipients of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador should never be
tarnished and tainted. Everyone in the province should have equal
opportunity to receive this award, not only those who are friends of the
Premier and the PC Party. We have witnessed too many of these appointments
to government positions over the past two years. This award is too important
to be tarnished in the same manner."