“Recent media reports have confirmed what the Official Opposition had suspected all along – Blaine Higgs was very much behind the effort to influence the outcome of deliberations of the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board an independent, quasi-judicial body, for the benefit of a third party, in this case Irving Oil, the Premier’s former employer.
We have also learned that the Office of the Premier and the head of the civil service entreated a number of senior officials in government to engage in inappropriate discussions with the Energy and Utilities Board and to have the Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development sign the letter to the EUB without his direct involvement.
The actions of the Premier seriously call into question his judgment and his understanding of the roles of the distinct branches of government and of independent boards and tribunals. While claiming that his concern was to ensure that a hearing would occur, he was also publicly advocating for an increase in oil prices in order to ensure the continued viability of the Irving Oil Refinery and presumably the continued financial success of the company. And the Premier says he would do it again.
If the Premier is so convinced of the virtue of this interference, why didn’t he sign the letter?
In January of this year, the Official Opposition filed a complaint under the Members’ Conflict of Interest Act and requested that the Integrity Commissioner look into this matter and we look forward to hearing his views.”
MLA for Moncton Centre