By The Canadian Press
The provincial NDP are on the defensive because of government documents showing the former NDP cabinet bumped up severance for departing political staff after October's election defeat.
The documents obtained from a government source say the top-up was worth a total of $250,000 for the 14 staff members.
Acting NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says the intention of the change was to fix an oversight in the original contracts of staff members to reflect their years of service before working in the Premier's Office.
She says Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil is merely trying to deflect criticism over his appointment of a former Liberal candidate as chief protocol officer this week.
The NDP introduced a bill Thursday stipulating that the officer be hired on merit and not for political purposes.
But Economic Development Minister Michel Samson says the real issue is about the NDP giving a sweeter deal to its staff after an election defeat.
Progressive Conservative Opposition Leader Jamie Baillie says the NDP top-up should be paid from party coffers to save taxpayers from footing the bill.