POLITICS

Tory candidate for New Brunswick byelection says he's not in a conflict

04/10/2013 12:58 EDT | Updated 06/10/2013 05:12 EDT
FREDERICTON - The Progressive Conservative candidate in Monday's byelection in New Brunswick says he's not in a conflict of interest, but the Opposition Liberals say the courts need to make that decision.

Before becoming a candidate in the riding of Kent, Jimmy Bourque worked as executive assistant to deputy premier Paul Robichaud while a company that Bourque owns rented a backhoe to the Department of Transportation.

In order to do both, the company must be placed in a blind trust.

After being accused last week by the Liberals of being in a conflict, Bourque said he thought papers he signed while working for a previous minister were still in effect.

Now Bourque says his lawyer — who had been out of the province — has produced documents that show the blind trust remains in effect.

"Like I thought, the blind trust that I had when I worked with minister Poirier is still in effect," Bourque said. "It was never removed."

Robichaud said the advice of Bourque's lawyer should be the end of the matter.

But Liberal house leader Bill Fraser said his party plans to file a complaint with the Court of Queen's Bench, although he doesn't know when they will file the paperwork.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant and the New Democrat's Susan Levi-Peters are also running in Monday's byelection.

It was called when former Liberal premier Shawn Graham quit politics after he was found to be in a conflict of interest over a $50-million loan guarantee his government gave to a construction firm in 2009.

The province's conflict of interest commissioner said Graham should have removed himself from cabinet discussions about the loan guarantee to Acton because it had ties to his father.