A communication breakdown left Elizabeth Matthews in the dark about her appointment to an offshore petroleum board late last year, according to Newfoundland and Labrador's Natural Resources minister.
Minister Shawn Skinner said he's looking into why the provincial government didn't let Matthews — Danny Williams's former communications director — know in December that she would be made a member of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.
"I signed the letter. I sent it off and I assumed that the rest of it would have happened as it should have happened, but I'll find that out. There was a communications breakdown in that regard," Skinner said Monday.
Skinner said his office also didn't inform the C-NLOPB, which regulates the province's offshore oil industry.
He said the appointment involved a cabinet decision that should've been passed on to the board in mid-December.
"There was a process, as I indicated, that was supposed to be followed — and again — I haven't been able to determine why that process wasn't done in a more timely manner, but again, I'm going to investigate that," Skinner said.
The provincial cabinet made the decision to make her a member of the board and nominate her for the vice-chair position.
An individual must be a member of the board before becoming a vice-chair. As well, vice-chair appointments must be approved by both the federal and provincial governments.
Matthews said Monday that she has withdrawn her name from the C-NLOPB, following criticism from the Opposition over her proposed appointment.
Liberal Leader Yvonne Jones and other critics assailed the nomination, claiming the C-NLOPB should have a vice-chair with industry, and not political, experience, particularly given the recommendations from the Wells commission into offshore
'Petty political manoeuvering by the Opposition'—Shawn Skinner
Skinner blamed the Liberals for creating a hostile environment around the nomination.
"While I respect [Matthews's] decision, I am disappointed that such an accomplished and capable individual was pushed to such a decision by petty political manoeuvring by the Opposition that went too far," Skinner said in a statement Monday.
"As a government, we stand behind our decision to nominate Ms. Matthews and I have no doubt she would have made tremendous contributions to the board."