New Brunswick

Alward defends Leger's appointment

Premier David Alward is defending his government's controversial choice of Michel Leger to lead a provincial auto insurance review committee.

Justice minister's political assistant is Leger's son

Premier David Alward is defending his government's controversial choice of Michel Leger to lead a provincial auto insurance review committee.

Leger, a Shediac lawyer with a long Progressive Conservative past, was announced as chairman of the review on Tuesday.

Leger worked on the Tory campaigns in several recent elections and was hired by the former Bernard Lord government to lead a review of the province's health system.

Alward was pressed on Wednesday about whether he stands behind Leger's selection.

"I believe they are going to do outstanding work and Michel Leger will do an outstanding job as chair," Alward said on Wednesday.

In 1995, Leger first entered the Progressive Conservative leadership race.

But he then quickly dropped his bid when his indirect involvement in an insurance fraud case in the 1980s was splashed all over the news. 

Leger denied any wrongdoing at the time.

"The allegations have been placed against me are false," Leger said in 1995.

Premier David Alward is defending the appointment of Michel Leger as the chairman of the provincial government's automobile insurance working group.
Leger helped a couple from Grande Digue, N.B., obtain fire insurance for a building after their rejection by insurance companies.

The couple used a friend to get the insurance, with Leger's help, on the building, which later burned down.

The controversy ended up in court in 1990 where Court of Queen's Bench Justice David Dickson found Leger had made a "fraudulent omission and misrepresentation" in documents used to obtain the insurance.

Leger was not a party in the 1990 lawsuit so Dickson's comments about the Shediac lawyer were not a legal finding of fraudulent behaviour.

Family connection

Leger did not appear at the announcement of the automobile insurance working group on Tuesday.

However, Justice Minister Marie-Claude Blais vouched for Leger's character when asked by reporters.

Justice Minister Marie-Claude Blais's executive assistant, Yves, is Leger's son. ((CBC))
"He's a person, if you know him, is truly honest, I have no problem of him coming to me and reporting to me," Blais said on Tuesday.

Blais's connection to Leger turns out not to be purely political.

CBC News has learned Leger's son, Yves, is the executive assistant to Blais.

Executive assistants are the political staff members to cabinet ministers.

The provincial government will not say what Leger will be paid as chairman of the working group.

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