Minister Passing Buck On Immigration Audit

Minister passing buck on immigration audit

Transcontinental Media
November 21, 2007

HALIFAX – Immigration Minister Len Goucher is passing the buck by blaming the province former partner for withholding audited financial statements on the immigration trust account, the president of Cornwallis Financial Corp. said.

Either the Minister is misinformed, or this is part of a deliberate, ongoing attempt by the Province to deflect attention away from the Office of Immigration mismanagement of the NSNP by erroneously blaming Cornwallis for its own failings, Cornwallis Financial Corp. Stephen Lockyer wrote in a letter to The Daily News.

At no time has Cornwallis resisted the release of the audited financial statements. In fact Cornwallis has been keenly interested in having that information before the public because it discloses that the Government statements about Cornwallis management of the NSNP are misleading.

Outside cabinet last Thursday, Goucher said he wants to release documents obtained by the legislature public-accounts committee which may clarify when the province first received advice to reduce its hefty immigration fees but he can.

Auditor General Jacques Lapointe is looking into the province mentorship program, which was suspended in June 2006, after a report showed Nova Scotia was charging the highest immigration fees in Canada. The government terminated its contract with Cornwallis and later offered $60 million in refunds to 600 applicants.

Goucher said he asked Cornwallis last Friday to give third-party consent to release the documents to the media. He got a letter from Cornwallis on Wednesday night informing him they had chosen no position on the documents release.