03/15/2012 06:08 EDT | Updated 05/15/2012 05:12 EDT

Newfoundland and Labrador's Opposition questions appointment to labour board

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Newfoundland and Labrador government is drawing opposition fire over the appointment of a Tory insider to a key government position.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael is questioning the appointment of former Conservative Party executive member Grant Barnes to the province's Labour Relations Board.

Michael says she's concerned about bias because Barnes also sits on the board for workplace health and safety.

But Labour Minister Terry French says Barnes is "highly qualified" to sit on the labour board as a former executive with the firefighters' union.

It's the second time this week the Conservative government has had to defend a hiring.

On Monday it explained that defeated Tory candidate and former provincial auditor general John Noseworthy was the most qualified for a $140,000 a year position to work on a business development project with the Department of Advanced Education.