Commissioner Richard LeBlanc didn’t leave the questions hanging, in the wake of the appointment of Inquiry co-counsel Kate O’Brien to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.
At the start of Wednesday’s hearing, LeBlanc announced O’Brien’s departure and the appointment of lawyer Irene Muzychka as her immediate replacement.
LeBlanc said O’Brien has been a “key and important member” of the team responsible for the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls Project. He said the Commission’s loss will be the gain of the Justice system in the province.
In taking over from O’Brien at the Inquiry, Muzychka will join lawyer Barry Learmonth as Inquiry co-counsel. Both Muzychka and Learmonth are tasked with identifying and bringing forward evidence for the consideration of LeBlanc, for his final report to the provincial government, due at the end of this year.
Before the start of the morning’s hearing, Learmonth was asked if he would comment on O’Brien’s appointment to the bench. He declined, saying he may comment later but would prefer to wait for any statement from the Commissioner.
LeBlanc said he does not expect any delays in the Inquiry’s work as a result of the change in counsel.
Muzychka is a partner with the firm Curtis Dawe. She has a Bachelor of Commerce from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a law degree from the University of New Brunswick.
Newfoundland Power lawyer Ian Kelly is also with the firm Curtis Dawe. LeBlanc said Muzychka would not deal with issues directly impacting Newfoundland Power.