Moncton North Tory MLA Marie-Claude Blais was named the province's justice minister and attorney general on Oct. 12. Blais said she plans to revisit the 2008 report on mental illness. ((CBC))

Justice Minister Marie-Claude Blais is committing to dusting off a 2009 report on the province's mental health system.

Provincial Court Judge Michael McKee released a major report in February 2009 that contained 80 recommendations laying out a drastic overhaul of the mental health system.

McKee's report recommended investment in early intervention and putting a greater emphasis on keeping people with mental illness out of the legal system.

"I have worked with youth in the past, I have worked on the criminal side with different clients who have had mental health issues," Blais said in an interview.

"We need to address that question but we really need to bring that forward and it's something that I have very close to my heart and that I want to work on."

Premier David Alward named Blais the province's new justice minister and attorney general on Tuesday. Blais is the first woman to hold the position as justice minister.

Election issue

The McKee report was commissioned in 2008 by then Health Minister Michael Murphy and it was completed in 2009.

The issue of how the province treats the mentally ill flared up during the provincial election campaign.

Eugene Niles, a former warden of the province's largest prison and a past president of the New Brunswick branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, said New Brunswick could no longer claim having one of the best mental health systems in North America.

The former Liberals government had promised to respond to the McKee report by spring 2010. That deadline was missed and the response was never made public before the election campaign.