A bizarre case of alleged political blackmail has put the future of New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord and his Conservative government in jeopardy.
Over the weekend, Mr. Lord went from having a majority government to a minority following the decision by Michael “Tanker” Malley to abandon the Tory backbenches and sit as an Independent.
With Mr. Lord's 27-member Tory caucus outnumbered by 26 Liberals and two Independents, the government could be defeated as early as April 7 with a non-confidence vote on the budget.
The Pemier alleges that Mr. Malley gave him a list of five demands he would have to satisfy if he wanted him to continue sitting as a Conservative.
Mr. Lord said Mr. Malley's demands included more money for his constituency office, more help for the Miramichi's troubled paper mill and the appointment of a female friend as his special assistant.
But Mr. Lord said the demand that bothered him most was the alleged insistence that he immediately appoint Fredericton lawyer Cleveland Allaby, a good friend of Mr. Malley's, as provincial court judge in the Miramichi.
Bernard Lord always looked better from afar than he did up close to the voters of New Brunswick who have actually seen him in action. On paper, the perfect leadership candidate: young, telegenic, bilingual, experienced.
In reality, as much a ditherer as Paul Martin with little to show for nearly seven years in office.
Now one of his own former backbenchers is about to finish him off.
A shame for Lord, but further proof that potential and reality so rarely meet in politics.
Source: Globe and Mail