The government of New Brunswick has named Fredericton lawyer Anne Bertrand to become the province's first access to information and privacy commissioner. She will be responsible for oversight of the province's new health privacy law.
CBC News - New Brunswick - Fredericton lawyer named information czar
Last Updated: Thursday, July 15, 2010 | 7:39 PM AT
Premier Shawn Graham has tapped Fredericton lawyer Anne Bertrand to become the province's first access to information and privacy commissioner.
Bertrand will start Sept. 1, when the independent office is officially created. Graham said Bertrand's legal experience will help her establish the office.
"I am confident that the breadth of her experience in the field of law, along with her work in the community and strong values of justice and integrity, will serve New Brunswickers well as she fulfils the commissioner's responsibilities," he said in a news release.
Until now, access to information and privacy issues have been the responsibility of Bernard Richard, the provincial ombudsman and child and youth advocate.
Bertrand's appointment must be confirmed by the legislature after the Sept. 27 election. But Opposition Leader David Alward has indicated his party will support a motion.
"The position is important," Alward told CBC News. "There was a fair, competitive process. I feel confident with that."
Alward said he isn't concerned Bertrand once tried to become a Liberal candidate.
"I feel very comfortable that there was a fair evaluation," he said.
The appointment is for five years.
Failed Liberal candidate
Bertrand has been a lawyer in private practice for 24 years. She has also been active in the arts community and serves as the chair of the New Brunswick Foundation for the Arts.
Bertrand tried to enter provincial politics in 2006 but lost the Liberal nomination in the riding of Fredericton-Silverwood to Rick Miles, who is now the environment minister.
She has also dabbled in federal politics. In 2006, she served as the provincial campaign co-chair to former Ontario education minister Gerard Kennedy, when he ran for the federal Liberal leadership.
The information and privacy commissioner will be responsible for overseeing two new pieces of legislation governing access to information and health information privacy.
Bertrand will be responsible for hearing any public complaints related to the legislation and for advocating for information and privacy issues.