March 17, 2017 3:06 pm
Updated: March 17, 2017 4:50 pm

NB Opposition questions timing of minister recusing himself from Parlee Beach file

WATCH: The Official Opposition are questioning why Health Minister Victor Boudreau was ever involved in Parlee Beach as he holds development interests in Camping Shediac and calls his recent recusal a matter of convenience. Jeremy Keefe reports.

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New Brunswick’s Official Opposition is crying foul over Health Minister Victor Boudreau recusing himself from a file they say he never should’ve been involved with while the province maintains the minister has followed protocol to the letter.

READ MORE: NB minister’s recusal sparks conflict of interest talks at legislature

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Boudreau, who has development interests in Camping Shediac recused himself from Parlee Beach talks at the recommendation of the conflict of interest commissioner recently.

It’s a move Premier Brian Gallant says was the right one.

“The commissioner gave the advice to the minister that he was not in a conflict, however there could be a perception of a conflict,” explained Gallant. “And he gave the advice to the minister that he recuse himself and that’s what we did.”

Opposition Leader Blaine Higgs thinks the conflict of interest should’ve been addressed long ago and questions why it only surfaced after poor quality water testing results were found at the site.

“I think there isn’t any question there is a conflict here in relation to the operation and ownership of a potential development in an area as popular as this,” Higgs said. “It was known when this minister of health was put in office and he’s been silent on it up until this point where ‘oh it would be better now if I don’t speak so if the conflict of interest commissioner suggests that I recuse myself, what an opportunity for me to do so.'”

READ MORE: N.B. looking to improve water testing guidelines at Parlee Beach

Gallant advised that the steering committee looking into whether or not development should go ahead in the area or cease for a period of time is still doing their research and it would be premature to speculate on what will come from their work.

He said he is confident though that a positive result will come from this issue being brought to the forefront.

“We’re happy that there has been light shed on this issue and we as a government can now be in a position to act upon this issue and rectify it,” he said. “That’s exactly what the steering committee that’s been put in place is doing.”

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