N.B. premier declines to reveal who told him to fast-track property tax assessments
Published Wednesday, April 12, 2017 7:52PM ADT
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant still will not say if he was the one advising employees at Service New Brunswick to bring in the new property tax assessment system in one year rather than three.
Surrounded by other Maritime premiers and federal Liberal MP and Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc on Wednesday, Gallant sidestepped the question.
“We made it very clear there are real problems with the property assessment process here in New Brunswick,” Gallant said. “I'm not going to do the review through media. We think Justice Robertson should be given the time that he has needed to do the review. Everything will be made very clear and the light will be shed on everything that happened.”
Light is slowly being shed on what may or may not have led to thousands of property tax errors being sent to New Brunswickers.
Last week, the presentation that explained the plan was obtained by CTV News. An estimated $5.7 million could have been brought in with the new system, with $4.5 million of that going to provincial coffers.
While the dollar amounts are clear, who gave this project the green light isn’t. New Brunswick Opposition Leader Blaine Higgs is worried the review that's supposed to uncover the answer won't be independent.
“The details keep coming out, continue to pull (Gallant) closer and closer,” said Higgs. “I am very concerned about the commission itself. At this point and how it has any chance of being independent, has any chance of coming up with the real story.”
The premier assures CTV News the review will be completely independent. We're told Justice Joseph Robertson has already begun work on some of the preliminaries.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.