Liberals win majority government in New Brunswick election
WATCH: Premiere elect Brian Gallant addresses the media at 12:30 a.m. after hearing the results electing him as premiere of New Brunswick.
Brian Gallant and the Liberals have been declared the winner in the 2014 New Brunswick election – but due to technical glitches at Elections New Brunswick, it’s a win likely to be contested.
The Liberals have won on a promise to rebuild the province’s roads and bridges to create jobs, turfing the Progressive Conservatives from power after one term in office.
“After a long night, it is with a great deal of humility that I accept the responsibility of being the premier of our beautiful province,” Gallant told supporters inside a gymnasium in Grande-Digue, N.B., early Tuesday.
“I feel so humble and grateful to have earned your trust.”
The victory comes after technical glitches caused vote counting to be temporarily suspended and the Progressive Conservatives called for all the ballots to be counted by hand to ensure the accuracy of the outcome.
A spokesman for Elections New Brunswick said the agency encountered a technical problem with the tabulation machines it was using to count ballots.
Paul Harpelle said in an email that there were problems uploading data from memory cards and they were working “frantically” to resolve the delay in getting final results tallied.
The president of the Progressive Conservatives raised the possibility of the party rejecting the results without every vote being counted by hand.
“We are calling on Elections New Brunswick to count every vote by hand as they always have,” Jason Stephen said. “It is best to make sure that all votes are counted properly. At that time we will accept the outcome of the election from the New Brunswick population.”
Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc, a key member of Gallant’s election team, argued the parties should allow Elections New Brunswick to do its work.
At 32, Brian Gallant is slated to become the country’s youngest premier and leads the Liberals to their fourth straight election victory in the past year in Eastern Canada after wins by the party in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
The Acadian lawyer, who was elected to the legislature only last year, was the perceived front-runner when the campaign started. He has promised to place a moratorium on the shale gas industry until risks to the environment, human health and water are known.
His campaign had its share of stumbles. At one point, he refused to rule out allowing shale gas companies to use hydraulic fracturing during his government’s first term, a position that anti-fracking activists assailed as muddled.
The Tory defeat on Monday makes 54-year-old David Alward the second straight premier to fail in his bid for a second term, a rarity in New Brunswick politics.
Alward’s decision to embrace the shale gas industry was polarizing in the province, where a series of public protests culminated in a violent demonstration last fall in Rexton that saw 40 people arrested and six police vehicles burned.
Alward and Gallant each won their respective seats, while NDP leader Dominic Cardy lost his bid for election as the results of the New Brunswick election.
NDP leader Dominic Cardy resigned after losing in the riding of Fredericton West-Hanwell to PC candidate Brian Macdonald and resigned as party leader.
He said the party would hold a leadership race in the coming weeks.
Green Party leader David Coon made history in defeating Progressive Conservative candidate Craig Leonard.
Coon, running in the riding of Fredericton South, will become the first Green candidate to win a seat in the provincial legislature.
© 2014 The Canadian Press