UPDATED: Staffer didn’t intend to imply patronage in email, Gallant says

FREDERICTON – New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant says he takes a political staffer at his word when he says he didn’t intend to suggest that Liberal supporters would get preferential treatment in the awarding of government road work contracts.

“The Premier’s office had a conversation with Mr. Pelkey to find out exactly what was his side of the story if you will and he certainly has said that that’s not what was said or that was certainly not the impression that he wanted to give anybody,” Gallant said.

On Wednesday, the Opposition Tories released an email they obtained that was sent by the president of the Riverview Liberal riding association.

In it, Myer Rabin says it is standard practice that road work contracts are made available to government supporters.

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Rabin also says in the email that Ian Pelkey, the executive assistant to Social Development Minister Cathy Rogers, has asked if the riding association is aware of anyone with Liberal ties who may want to bid on such contracts.

Rogers was questioned about the email Friday, and said she had no idea it was sent and that the conversation between Pelkey and the volunteer was wrongly interpreted.

“What I can say about this letter, is that it was written by a volunteer in an association under no direction of myself or Mr. Pelkey,” she said.

“No one in my staff will ever operate with political interference in government processes, and if I ever find out that they do, they will not be my staff.”

Gallant says all ministers and executive assistants have been told that patronage will not be tolerated.

With files from Global’s Laura Brown.


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