A campground owner in Shediac has filed a conflict of interest complaint against her MLA, Liberal Victor Boudreau.
Marie-Paule Martin, who owns Camping Beauséjour, says private campground owners in the region shared proprietary information about their businesses with Boudreau last May.
In a written complaint to the Members' Conflict of Interest Commissioner Alfred Landry, Martin alleges Boudreau used that information for his own plan to build a 750-site RV park in the town.
“Well, he knows how much he's up against, what kind of competition we are. So for him, that gave him a picture of how he can compete against us," she told CBC News.
None of the allegations have been proven. The Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner is looking into the matter.
Boudreau, the MLA for Shediac-Cap-Pelé, says he did meet with the owners, but did not receive any detailed information about their businesses.
“No financial information whatsoever was disclosed to me," he said.
The owners merely expressed their concerns about the government's plans to add campsites to the Parlee Beach Provincial Park, said Boudreau.
Shared details, seeking his help
The owners had met with Boudreau on May 6, seeking his help in lobbying the provincial government to cancel the proposed expansion at the provincial park, said Martin.
They were worried the government-operated facility would be in direct competition with the privately-operated ones and possibly create an unequal playing field.
"We provided Mr. Boudreau detailed information to justify our concerns related to current occupancy rates, current approved expansion plans, services and fees being charged in the area and our worry that the government-run sites could possibly undercut our private business," her complaint states.
Nine months later, Boudreau was part of a group planning to turn the land between the provincial park and the road to Pointe de Chene into a campground for big motor homes, which would make it the largest campground in the region.
"I believe that Mr. Boudreau knew at the May 6th, 2013 meeting that he had intentions of opening a competing business and should have disclosed his future intentions, and not accepted the information that was given to him as this information may have enhanced his own personal business advantage," Martin states in her sworn affidavit, dated April 7.
'I have a hard time understanding how come in New Brunswick an elected member of the Legislature can go into business without any fuss or much ado.' - Marie-Paule Martin, campground owner and complainant
Martin says the campground owners have had to put off their own expansion plans because of Boudreau's actions.
She hopes her complaint will lead to new laws to prevent MLAs from going into business and competing with their voters.
“I have a hard time understanding how come in New Brunswick an elected member of the Legislature can go into business without any fuss or much ado.”
Boudreau says his participation in plans to open a campground has been approved by the province's conflict of interest commissioner.
Many MLAs have independent businesses, he said.
Shediac town council has to give its permission to rezone the land before any new campground or cottage clusters are built in the community. That approval has not been given yet, Mayor Jacques LeBlanc has said.