Liberals mulled changing NB Liquor pension: report
The Liberal government of Shawn Graham looked at modifying the pension eligibility for the former head of NB Liquor, according to a report by New Brunswick's Access to Information commissioner.
Anne Bertrand is urging NB Liquor to release documents about the pension of Liberal appointee Dana Clendenning.
NB Liquor has refused to release documents on any executive salaries or pensions requested by CBC News.
Even without the documents, Bertrand's report provides new details about secret discussions regarding Clendenning's pension.
It reveals NB Liquor discussed "modifying" his pension eligibility, but didn't make a decision.
Instead, that decision was "removed from NB Liquor's authority," and taken over by the Liberal cabinet of then-Premier Shawn Graham, the report states.
Must serve five years
Clendenning's NB Liquor position was considered a deputy minister-level job, with an annual salary of $150,000.
Although there are some rule differences between deputy ministers and Crown corporation heads, Clendenning's position was governed by the same pension eligibilty rules as deputy ministers, which state that someone must be on the job for at least five years to get a pension. Clendenning only served four.
Clendenning is a major Liberal backroom player and ran Graham's 2006 campaign.
The Liberals refused to discuss Clendenning's pension last fall.
Now Liberal MLA Donald Arseneault contends the PC government should heed Bertrand's advice.
"She's the one who's going to decide what should be public or not and if that's the recommendation, so be it," he said.
Finance Minister Blaine Higgs said he's curious about Clendenning's pension.
"Recently we had a little discussion on that and I intend to find out more about it myself."
The province is not required by law to release the documents.
But Bertrand's report makes it clear the Liberal cabinet at least looked at modifying pension rules for a political friend.