FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's Conservative Opposition leader is questioning the independence of the process being used to study the proposed sale of NB Power to Hydro-Quebec.
David Alward says the independent panel appointed by Premier Shawn Graham is conducting its business behind closed doors and met today with government "spin doctors" who are being used to promote the $4.75-billion deal.
In the legislature, Alward questioned why panel chairman David Ganong met with Communications New Brunswick deputy minister Maurice Robichaud and Steve MacKinnon of Hill and Knowlton, when the panel has been tasked to study the merits of the business deal.
Graham says he doesn't know who the panel is meeting with and accused the Opposition of trying to taint the reputation of the panel's six members.
Robichaud says while Ganong was present for five minutes, the meeting was actually with consultants hired by the panel who wanted to get some background on the deal and details on how it is being perceived across the province.
In a prepared statement, Ganong says he stopped to meet with Robichaud because it was the first time he had seen him since announcing Monday that the panel's report would be delayed by two weeks until Feb. 1.