nb-david-alward

Premier David Alward says the new selection process is more fair and transparent. (CBC)

The Alward government has announced the appointment of three new people to watchdog positions in the province, based on a new selection process.

The new child and youth advocate is Saint John lawyer Norm Bossé, who represented victims in the Kingsclear reformatory sex abuse case.

Katherine d'Entremont, a career civil servant, will be the new commissioner of official languages.

And the new ombudsman is Charles Murray, a civil servant and former political assistant to one-time Tory MP Elsie Wayne and to former PC cabinet minister Brad Green.

"I am confident that their experience and education will help them to carry out their respective duties effectively," said Premier David Alward.

He said Murray's appointment is not political.

"The individuals went through a very significant assessment and interviewing process."

Selection process overhauled

In March, the government overhauled the selection process for the arm's-length watchdog positions that offer a six-figure, deputy minister-level salary, for a seven-year term.

Previously, the government picked people for the positions that report to the legislative assembly, in consultation with the opposition. The legislature would then approve the choice.

But now, a committee of bureaucrats, lawyers and academics review applications from people who are interested in the positions and presents qualified individuals to the premier.

He then consults with the leader of the opposition and recommendations are made through the legislative assembly.

The committee in this case included a provincial court judge, a member of the university community, the clerk of the legislature and the clerk of the executive council.

"We are pleased as a government that we created a new process to be more fair and transparent," said Alward.

Liberal Opposition Leader Brian Gallant was consulted on the three choices and signed off on all of them, including Murray.

"Charles Murray has a very impressive resume," said Gallant. "There was a good group of people that looked through a lot of the candidacies and he came through as the consensus choice."