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Tax critic slams premiers' conference gift baskets

The provincial government spent $37,000 on gifts for the premiers’ meeting in Halifax back in July 2012.

Atlantic Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Kevin Lacey, tells Maritime Morning the province gave away gifts as if it was a birthday party for Canada’s premiers.

The list includes $30,000 spent on jackets from Saskatchewan, $1,600 on cheese boards covered in bees wax, crystal tumblers designed as the Titanic, 13 sailboat dishes, 25 Diamond Jubilee leather binders, $5,000 on Taste of Nova Scotia gift baskets and $700 on porcupine brooches.

“It’s the principle that’s the issue,” says Lacey. “We don’t have to give out presents to showcase Nova Scotia. It showcases itself.”

Seventy-thousand dollars from the total $110,000 bill for the Premier’s meeting came from the Council of the Federation. Lacey says that organization is supported by tax payers, and its sole job is to organize all of the premiers together every 2 years.

The previous provincial government spent $150,000 on gifts when Nova Scotia hosted the premiers’ meeting in 2002.