Minister defends keeping new education advisory council's meetings private

Nova Scotia's minister of education says meetings of the advisory council that replaced elected school boards will be held in private in part because he worries outside "pressures" might come to bear on the volunteer members.

Zach Churchill said today the 12-member council doesn't make decisions, is no longer an elected body and it may have better discussions when it meets behind closed doors and provides him advice.

Churchill said he promised to "keep talking" about possibly opening up the meetings, but for now that will be the rule.

The Liberal politician says the agenda and minutes will be made available to the public, with full accountability for education lying with elected officials like himself.

Opposition leaders both said the decision is only the latest move by the second-term Liberal government to mute public criticisms and discussion of its policies.