The Opposition Liberals say Deputy Premier Paul Robichaud should consider leaving cabinet over a police investigation regarding obstruction of justice.
Although there's no indication Robichaud is under investigation, RCMP have charged a senior Fisheries bureaucrat with obstruction in an aquaculture case involving Robichaud's brother.
The charge against Peter Andrews, executive director of the corporate services division of the Department of Aquaculture, Agriculture and Fisheries, follows an anonymous letter to the Liberals that accused Robichaud of the same offence.
RCMP haven't ruled out laying other charges, which Liberal MLA Victor Boudreau contends puts Robichaud is in a difficult position.
"The investigation may not be complete. So that's why we feel it's important that the minister and the premier take this matter seriously, and if that means stepping aside until the investigation is complete, maybe that's what should be done," he said.
Public perception should be considered
The letter alleged Robichaud pressured staff at the Fisheries department not to prosecute his brother under the Aquaculture Act.
"What was first considered an anonymous letter that had very little value is now the basis of charges that have been laid on a middle-management civil servant," Boudreau said.
"These are serious allegations."
This isn't the first time the Liberals have called for the deputy premier to resign.
Boudreau had raised the issue during question period in April after receiving confirmation from the RCMP that the anonymous letter the Liberals turned over to police had sparked a criminal investigation.
Robichaud told reporters on Tuesday that he's not under investigation, as far as he knows.
"I don't have the impression that I'm under investigation, but listen, who knows?" he had said.
But until it's clear he's not being investigated, Boudreau maintains Robichaud should quit cabinet.
"The possible public perception that Mr. Robichaud is directly or indirectly linked to this unfortunate matter should be strongly considered," he said.
The Liberals want Premier David Alward to explain what action he will take to maintain public confidence in the integrity of his government given the situation, Boudreau said.
Andrews is scheduled to enter a plea in Fredericton provincial court on March 1.
If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison.