POLITICS

New Brunswick attorney general's office to look at Larry's Gulch case

07/07/2015 10:38 EDT | Updated 07/07/2016 05:59 EDT
FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's Liberal government has asked the office of the attorney general to examine the findings of the privacy commissioner that two deputy ministers in the former Progressive Conservative government altered the guest list for a provincially owned fishing lodge.

Energy Minister Donald Arseneault says the altering of documents by the two former deputy ministers is a serious matter and the case has been forwarded to the public prosecutions branch in the office of the attorney general to review what action could be taken, if any.

"It has been stated in black and white in the report that documents were altered," Arseneault said Tuesday.

"They were told on three occasions by bureaucrats that this is going against the law."

A review of changes to the guest list of Larry's Gulch was released last week.

The report by Anne Bertrand, the province's access to information and privacy commissioner, says two deputy ministers altered the 2013 guest list for the lodge after a request by a newspaper editor.

The report says the government officials responsible for altering the guest list were the deputy minister of tourism, heritage and culture and the deputy minister for communications in the premier's office, but does not name them.

The report says the communications official "wanted to do a favour for an editor friend," while the tourism official "took it upon himself to protect the interests of NB Liquor on the basis it was paying more money than others to attend the lodge."

The report did not recommend any charges be laid but says changes to government records will not be tolerated in the future.

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives declined comment Tuesday, instead referring questions to a statement the party issued last week.

In it, the Tories say the release of the privacy commissioner's report was a "carefully crafted and timed smokescreen" to draw attention away from an auditor general's report.