nb-bernard-lord

Former premier Bernard Lord is listed as one of three Canadian advisors for the international firm Alexander Proudfoot. ((Aaron Harris/Canadian Press))

The Opposition Liberals are questioning another government contract being awarded to an international consulting firm with ties to former Progressive Conservative premier Bernard Lord.

NB Liquor recently hired the Alexander Proudfoot company to conduct a business review of the Crown corporation.

Lord serves as a Canadian advisor for the company that was hired twice last year by NB Power to look for ways to cut costs.

Liberal MLA Donald Arseneault, the opposition's finance critic, says it's getting more difficult to believe the contracts have nothing to do with Lord.

"I just find it odd that his name keeps popping up in these kinds of situations," Arseneault said.

But Daniel Allain, the president and chief executive officer of NB Liquor, says four companies were invited to bid on the latest contract and Alexander Proudfoot came in as the lowest at $100,000.

Lord's involvement with the company had "no bearing whatsoever," said Allain, adding he never spoke to Lord about the matter.

Among its recommendations, Proudfoot had suggested hiring the firm again at $2.6 million to implement some of its own recommendations, said Allain.

But Finance Minister Blaine Higgs vetoed that, he said.

"The minister indicated that at this time, take those directives and try to do it in-house, and we can do it ourselves for now."

The report was part of an overall NB Liquor review, announced earlier this year.

 Lord was the Progressive Conservative premier from 1999 to 2006.

Allain served as an executive assistant to Lord during his time in office.