PCs win most seats in N.B. election, Liberals vow to maintain power

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick election: Higgs says there’s ‘opportunity’ for doing government differently'
New Brunswick election: Higgs says there’s ‘opportunity’ for doing government differently
PC Leader Blaine Higgs said Monday there was an "opportunity" to do government differently following the results of the provincial election – Sep 24, 2018

Blaine Higgs and the Progressive Conservatives have won the most seats in the New Brunswick election, but Liberal Leader Brian Gallant said he is not conceding despite the result.

READ MORE: All our New Brunswick election 2018 coverage

Just before midnight Monday, the PCs were elected or leading in 22 ridings to the Liberals’ 21. A last-minute flip from PC Jake Stewart over People’s Alliance candidate Art O’donnell gave Higgs and the Conservatives the extra seat.

Brian Gallant said Monday night that he plans to meet with the lieutenant-governor in the morning.

“I know some New Brunswickers may be wondering what is next. This is something that has not been seen in a generation,” Gallant said Monday night.

“I will tomorrow, meet with the lieutenant-governor. I will discuss with her my plans to do everything I can to work collaboratively with the other political parties to ensure that we are able to pass legislation.”

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WATCH: New Brunswick election: Brian Gallant not conceding despite results

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick election: Brian Gallant not conceding despite results'
New Brunswick election: Brian Gallant not conceding despite results

Higgs claimed victory late Monday night, saying he too plans to be lined up Tuesday to see the lieutenant-governor.

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“Tonight, our team has a mandate based on the platform that we offered,” he said.

“It’s a mandate to improve access to health care, a mandate to fix our classrooms … and a mandate to get this government working again for the people of this province.”

READ MORE: With a minority government in New Brunswick, what happens next?

WATCH: New Brunswick election: PC Leader Blaine Higgs re-elected in Quispamsis and other wins in the province

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The Liberals entered the election as the perceived favourites with support from 33 per cent of decided voters, according to a poll from Nanos Research. The PCs entered election day with 26 per cent, with the People’s Alliance’s Kris Austin leading the third-party candidates with 10 per cent.

The PCs campaigned on a promise to not bring in new taxes, fight the federal carbon pricing plan in court, evaluate tuition access bursary program and tax credit programs, and develop a plan to make second-language conversational skills a universal expectation of all graduates.

READ MORE: New Brunswick election expected to be a tight race between incumbent Liberals, Tories

Both Higgs and Gallant earned convincing wins in their ridings, with Higgs earning 56.9 per cent of the vote in Quispamsis and Gallant receiving 67.1 per cent in Shediac Bay-Dieppe.

The People’s Alliance of New Brunswick made history after three MLAs were elected into the legislature, including party founder Kris Austin, who won in the Fredericton-Grand Lake riding.

Also winning for the People’s Alliance was Michelle Conroy in Miramichi and Rick Desaulniers in Fredericton-York. Conroy tallied 47 per cent of the vote to pull off the upset over Liberal incumbent Bill Fraser, while Desaulniers garnered 3,033 votes to defeat PC Kirk Macdonald’s 2,777.

WATCH: New Brunswick election: People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin calls win ‘fantastic’

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick election: People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin calls win ‘fantastic’'
New Brunswick election: People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin calls win ‘fantastic’

The Greens also had a historic night, winning three seats of their own. Party Leader David Coon of Fredericton South, Megan Mitton of Memramcook-Tantramar and Kevin Arseneau of Kent South all won in their ridings.

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Mitton edged out incumbent Bernard Leblanc by just 11 votes, earning 3,148 to Leblanc’s 3,137. Arseneau earned 45.9 per cent to beat Liberal Emery Comeau by over 700 votes.

The NDP’s Jennifer McKenzie was the only party leader not to win a seat in the legislature, earning just 14.7 per cent of the vote in Saint John Harbour. Liberal Gerry Lowe was the winner of that riding with 1,865 votes, just 10 more than Progressive Conservative Barry Ogden.

–With files from Andrew Russell.

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