FREDERICTON — New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant says his government will fully investigate after a whistleblower alleged that more than 2,000 property owners have been given improper and inflated tax bills.
"We are very troubled by the errors created by the 2,000 or so property assessments that were done hastily and improperly by Service New Brunswick," Gallant told the legislature Friday.
"I can tell you that we will be looking into this matter in depth and to have serious actions taken to rectify this situation," he said.
Gallant told the legislature that he was unaware of the allegations until a media request Thursday.
He said it's troubling that the information didn't come directly from employees within the Department of Service New Brunswick.
The CBC is reporting it received a leaked email showing that senior assessment officials invented renovation amounts for more than 2,000 homeowners with large assessment increases this year.
Conservative Opposition Leader Blaine Higgs has been pressing the government on property tax issues for weeks, and wanted to know what the government has been doing.
"Not being aware means nothing was happening to protect the citizens of this province. Not being aware is no excuse," he said.
Higgs called on the government to forego a three-week break in the legislative session in order to get answers on the issue.
Gallant said the investigation won't be affected by the scheduled break that begins next week.
Higgs has also been pushing the government to extend the deadline for homeowners to appeal their assessments, but Gallant said that's not necessary.
"At any point during the next few months, at any time, if anyone has had an error to their property assessment, they can come see us, and we're going to proactively go see them if we are aware of it," Gallant said.
Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press