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Premier David Alward delivered his first state of the province address in Fredericton on Jan. 27. ((CBC))

Premier David Alward is being dogged by more patronage accusations after appointing his former leadership rival to lead New Brunswick's new economic development agency.

Alward used his annual State of the Province speech on Thursday to confirm that Robert MacLeod will be the first president of InvestNB, which will be created to help generate jobs in the province.

"It will focus on attracting new investment to our province. Essentially, Invest New Brunswick will be a one-stop shop for potential investors," Alward said.

MacLeod is a well-known Progressive Conservative, his father Malcolm MacLeod was a senior cabinet minister in Richard Hatfield's government.

MacLeod was most recently the vice-president of sales and marketing at G.E. Barbour Inc. in Sussex.

MacLeod served as the provincial Tory party's president until he decided to run for the leadership against Alward.

He decided against running in the 2010 election but served as a campaign co-chairman and helped Alward win a massive majority government.

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Robert MacLeod raises David Alward's hand after he won the PC leadership race in 2008. Alward appointed MacLeod to lead a new economic development agency on Thursday. ((CBC))

Opposition Leader Victor Boudreau said MacLeod's appointment is another example of Tory political patronage.

"Here again we have one more person that was on the bus, one of the co-chairs of the campaign, that's going to receive a six-figure salary without any competition, without any screening," Boudreau said.

"They found a Tory that has a bit of a business background and decided he was qualified enough to do this job."

The Tories have been criticized for several appointments since coming to power.

  • Daniel Allain, a campaign co-chair, is the new president of NB Liquor.
  • Michel Leger, another campaign organizer, is leading an insurance committee.
  • Jeannot Volpé, former interim Tory leader, and Bill Thompson, a Tory advisor, are the co-chairmen of the energy commission.
  • Norm Betts, a former Tory finance minister, is leading a task force on Crown land forest management.
  • Yassin Choukri, a former Tory advisor, is a public intervener at the Energy and Utilities Board.
  • Greg Lutes, Darell Fowlie and Dallas McCready, who were campaign staff members, were given senior civil service positions.
  • Sharon Tucker, a defeated PC candidate, is the new chairwoman of WorkSafeNB.