Results for this year’s impromptu provincial election came in quickly. It was the country’s first election during the pandemic. Here’s a round-up of the highlights and important outcomes.
Before the Legislature was dissolved on August 17, the Progressive Conservative Party (PC), led by Blaine Higgs, had a minority government. They have held 22 seats since 2018; the province’s first minority government since 1920. The Liberal Party held 21, while the Green Party and People’s Alliance of New Brunswick (PANB) held three each, a substantial gain for minority parties in the province. The Greens only had one seat prior to 2018, and PANB had none.
PC majority projected quickly
With the polls closing at 8 p.m., CTV News made their projection very quickly of a PC majority with 27 seats; 25 were required for a majority. This is the first government in New Brunswick to win a second term since 2003. The Liberals lost four seats, with an end result of 17. The Greens held their existing three, and the PA lost one to the PCs. The New Democratic Party (NDP) was unable to gain a seat this election, including their interim leader Mackenzie Thomason. The party has not had a seat in the Legislature since 2003.
A notable loss for the Liberal party and gain for the PCs was the riding of Saint John Harbour, which they won in 2018 by just seven votes. The incumbent Gerry Lowe did not reoffer this election, and the Liberals came in a close third place to the Greens. The PCs also managed to gain a lone francophone MLA when Daniel Allain won in Moncton East over the incumbent Liberal. The PCs only loss was Robert Gauvin, who switched to the Liberals this election and won again for his new party.
14 women were elected, including nine within the PC party, a record for the province.
This short campaign was plagued with scandals for three of the parties; the PCs, Liberals, and PA each dropped one candidate from the running due to transphobic and racist comments found on their social media profiles. No parties had a full slot of 49 candidates running in the campaign, which can be attributed to the abruptness of the calling of the election.
Vickers steps down as Liberal leader
The Liberal leader, Kevin Vickers, lost in his riding of Miramichi to the incumbent People’s Alliance MLA Michelle Conroy. He announced shortly after the results were finalized that he would be stepping down as leader.