New questions about opposition conflicts of interest around Furey, rich friends


Prime Minister Andrew Furey is once again defending himself and his friends against conflict of interest issues – this time on when and why one of his best friends left the presidency of Nalcor Energy.

Brendan Paddick was chairman of the Crown Energy Corporation until his resignation on March 24, about a week before the provincial government announced it was lifting its ban on onshore wind power.

Paddick is on the board of directors of World GH2, a company seeking to set up a massive wind-hydrogen plant in western Newfoundland, which could not happen without lifting the moratorium.

Documents provided to CBC News by the opposition PC party show an hour-long cabinet meeting held on March 24, less than four hours before Paddick resigned.

In the House of Assembly on Monday, Opposition Leader Barry Petten was asked what was discussed at the meeting and what happened afterwards.

“Has Brendan Paddick been notified of the lifting of the moratorium on the winds? he said.

« What we’re talking about today is a conflict of interest and whether insider information was provided to the sponsor of a billion dollar project, » he said. he declares.

Furey, citing cabinet secrecy rules, did not say whether the cabinet meeting included discussions about wind power.

In his resignation letter, also provided to CBC by the opposition PC, Paddick does not offer a reason to resign, but he does point to a recommendation from Judge Richard Leblanc’s Muskrat Falls inquiry report that directors should be reasonably paid for their work.

That didn’t stop Petten from asking if anyone at the firm leaked any information.

“If they did, you may need to bring in the RCMP or the RNC to investigate further,” he said, speaking to reporters later Monday.

« Perhaps the Legislative Standards Commissioner should look into that. »

This isn’t the first time Furey has had to defend himself — and his friends — against conflict-of-interest issues.

Last month, the prime minister justified his stay at a luxury lodge owned by his billionaire friend John Risley – the man who was trying to get the government to approve his wind-hydrogen plan.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Furey said there was no way Paddick was given advance notice that the government would be lifting its windy moratorium.

“You can pick two random points at any time and try to draw a line towards them,” he said.

« That’s fair, I guess, to the opposition, but it’s not. »

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