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Liberal MP raises ethics concerns after flying private jet for personal medical treatment

Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc’s use of JD Irving’s private jet to make a doctor’s appointment in Montreal last month is reviving the New Brunswick politician’s past brushes with ethics rules.
Jason Unrau Montreal, QC

Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc’s use of JD Irving’s private jet to make a doctor’s appointment in Montreal last month is reviving the New Brunswick politician’s past brushes with ethics rules.

Ethics commissioner Mario Dion approved the June 13 trip from Moncton NB to Montreal; posted to LeBlanc’s public registry of gifts and travel with The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner of Canada.

Screenshot from LeBlanc’s registry: see entire file by clicking link above.

“There’s no statement put out on the LeBlanc matter, there’s the public declaration online and the commissioner just confirmed to another media outlet that he had considered the facts that were presented to him and granted the approval,” said commissioner spokesperson Jocelyne Brisebois who declined to provided further specifics.

“With the act’s confidentiality rules, we can’t speak on particulars.”

At the end of April, LeBlanc announced he was taking a leave of absence from his cabinet duties to seek cancer treatment, his second bout with the disease.

LeBlanc did not return TPM‘s request for comment for this story. Four days after the Moncton-Montreal flight aboard the longtime lobbyist and New Brunswick businessman’s plane, the minister tweeted out this thanks to well-wishers. He also remains committed to running in the next federal election.

This time last year, LeBlanc was shuffled from Fisheries to Northern Development over a fishing licence issued under a cloud of nepotism that raised eyebrows.

In September of 2018, Dion’s Ethics and Conflict of Interest predecessor Mary Dawson would find LeBlanc violated rules for granting a valuable clam fishing licence to a cousin of his wife Joléne Richard’s. The decision was later rescinded for a second bidding process.

More recently, LeBlanc’s network of powerful connections were in the spotlight after it was learned five of the last six federal appointments to New Brunswick’s courts include those with close ties.

In addition to family member, a trio of lawyers who covered the debt for Leblanc’s failed 2008 leadership bid, and a neighbour were among those tapped for the province’s Court of Queen’s bench.

In other Ethics commissioner news involving LeBlanc, in April it was learned that the minister’s sister-in-law Martine Richard waited several weeks to recuse herself from Dion’s ongoing probe into the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

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Jason Unrau
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