Premier Shawn Graham would not say in the legislature on Tuesday what he'll do if one of his closest Liberal allies is found to be in a conflict of interest.
Dana Clendenning, the president and chief executive officer of NB Liquor, is facing a hearing in June under the province's conflict law. The hearing will take place in front of Court of Queen's Bench Judge Paulette Garnett.
The allegations against Clendenning by a Fredericton businessman have not been proven in court but they became a heated source of debate in question period on Tuesday.
Conservative MLA Rose-May Poirier asked that Graham suspend Clendenning until after the hearing in June.
The allegation is that a consulting company owned by Clendenning and his wife kept billing a Fredericton businessman after Clendenning took the NB Liquor job in October 2006, after the Liberals came to power.
Barry O'Donnell, the businessman raising the accusations, said the invoices were for Clendenning's lobbying of the Graham government for job-creation grants for O'Donnell's call centres.
CEOs of Crown corporations barred from outside businesses
Under the conflict law, the heads of Crown corporations aren't allowed to be involved in any outside businesses.
Poirier asked Graham what he'll do if the judge rules Clendenning violated that.
But Graham refused to offer a concrete answer.
"It's my understanding a judge is going to review the allegation sometime in June, Mr. Speaker, so our government will be awaiting the outcome of that review," he said.
Clendenning is a former executive director of the New Brunswick Liberal party.
He has refused to comment on the allegations.
It's not clear how active he was in the company after he became CEO of NB Liquor.
Lobbying for a fee is legal in New Brunswick.