New Brunswick’s former premier says “hindsight is always 20-20.”
In a year-end interview with anchor Sarah Ritchie, Brian Gallant delves into when he knew he wouldn’t be able to form government this fall, the Francophonie Games, and what’s next for him.
Here are some highlights.
On the fracking moratorium:
Q: “There’s a Liberal bill that I believe is still before the House right now, that private member’s bill that would ensure that the fracking moratorium can’t be changed without a vote in the legislature. I wonder why that didn’t come up until now – why didn’t you do that in government?”
A: “Well it’s a very fair question and I think it’s as simple as this, I mean we haven’t had a minority government in 100 years. But that doesn’t mean that every time there’s an election we don’t think it’s a possibility, it’s just it’s not, when you look at the history, one that’s very probable. But certainly that now has changed. So that’s number one, that we always would bank on the fact that there’s a majority.”
“But number two, I think it never crossed any of our minds – even though a minority government is possible – that somebody would change something like this, that was such a hotly contested issue for the last few years, without the majority of the House. I mean this is, I think it doesn’t matter where people stand on the issue, I think everybody can acknowledge it’s something that’s been hotly debated, so with that in mind I think it only makes sense that any government would only make changes to the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing if they had the majority of the votes in the legislature. And that’s why, when we did it, we didn’t really think of that possibility.
“So we proposed the legislation now to ensure that if there was a lifting of the moratorium in any shape or form, that it would have to go through the legislature and gain the majority of the votes there.”
WATCH: A look back at New Brunswick politics in 2018
On whether the Francophonie Games would have gone ahead under a Liberal government:
“I don’t know all the facts because I stepped away from the table, so a) I recused myself. I don’t think it’s appropriate that I start to make comments when I have good friends that are involved in it, and b) it’s a hypothetical.
“I really don’t know what talks have happened since the Conservatives have gained the confidence of the House, so for example, the only advice I can give them, for example, is they should be talking to the federal government. They should be doing everything they can to see if the federal government can help cost-share this in a certain way that could make the Games move forward. And of course they have to make sure that the people surrounding that Games are sharpening their pencils and bringing that budget down significantly.
“So if they can bring down the budget significantly, get a good cost-sharing model going, and have some partnerships from other sources then hopefully the Games will be able to move forward. And I certainly offer the opposition’s support in any shape or form. I won’t get involved because of the relationship that I have with some of the organizers, but certainly we’ll do anything that we can as a group in the opposition to help the premier and the government hopefully have these Games move forward and it be a success.”
On his own political future:
“At this point I’m just looking forward to not being in politics – and not because I don’t love it, I do love it, I’m passionate about it. I wanted a second mandate but as I hope everybody can understand, no matter what political party you’re with, it takes a little bit of a toll on yourself and on your family. So I look forward to the opportunity to spend some time with my wife and my family a little bit more. I look forward to the next chapter, even though I’m not sure what that means right now.
“But with all that said, I’ll certainly be involved in politics in some shape or form.”