A Liberal attempt to kick off an investigation of the provincial fisheries minister was shot down Thursday by the NDP.
Opposition parties have been hammering away at Sterling Belliveau since it was revealed he sold his fishing boat, gear and license for $600,000 after becoming fisheries minister. The buyer got a loan from a board that falls under Belliveau’s jurisdiction.
Opposition parties have been making hay out of the optics of a minister indirectly receiving $600,000 from his own department. Thursday, the Liberals floated a resolution to have the conflict of interest commissioner investigate Belliveau.
However, the NDP voted against it, repeatedly pointing out opposition parties have no direct evidence of wrongdoing. They also produced documents showing Belliveau wrote the conflict of interest commissioner disclosing the situation and asking for advice before the sale. The commissioner told Belliveau to make sure he had nothing to do with the board decision.
The NDP pointed to a clause Thursday saying the commissioner can choose to investigate if there are “reasonable and probable grounds.”
Premier Darrell Dexter said he was not going to order an investigation if the commissioner had already deemed there wasn’t evidence of wrongdoing to spark an inquiry.