Marathon fight for ferry information shows flaws in N.S. access law: Tories

Bay Ferries Limited

Nova Scotia's official Opposition leader says a marathon court battle for details on public ferry subsidies shows that the province's information commissioner needs more power.

Tim Houston was reacting today to news it will be next March before his case is heard seeking to force the Liberal government to comply with the information commissioner's recommendation of full disclosure.

Currently the commissioner can make recommendations but not issue orders.

Houston says his chief of staff has already put in more than 100 hours of legal research on the file, illustrating how for most citizens trying to enforce recommendations made by the information commissioner is too expensive.

The Tory party is asking Nova Scotia Supreme Court to enforce information commissioner Catherine Tully's recommendation last December calling for "full disclosure of the ferry service funding agreement" for the route between Maine and Nova Scotia.

In her decision, Tully said there was a "justifiably high" expectation that public spending be revealed. She said the province had failed to provide sufficient evidence that the economy of the province and the competitive position of Bay Ferries would be harmed by the information's release.