The New Brunswick Liberals are set to select a new leader in June, after the party’s board of directors met over the weekend and voted to hold a leadership convention on June 22 in Saint John.
Susan Holt was one of the first faces that came forward when former Liberal premier Brian Gallant announced he would not remain on as leader. Now, however, Holt says she needs to take a step back.
“I would love to do this, I really would. I think that I have some ideas that could be really positive for the province. It just — there’s just too much sacrifice required from my family right now and I’m not prepared to make those sacrifices,” explained Holt, who also cites her young family as a deciding factor.
Another familiar face stepping out of the race is federal MP Wayne Long.
Long took to Twitter explaining that timing was a main factor in his decision, adding that he’s 100 per cent focused on being re-elected in Saint John Rothesay during the upcoming federal election.
There’s another name rolling off the tips of tongues and he’s a rather well-known Canadian — former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, who also happens to be Canada’s ambassador to Ireland and is the man hailed as a hero for shooting a gunman who stormed Parliament Hill in 2014.
If he’s showed intentions of running, the Liberal Association isn’t willing to say.
“We’re encouraged about anyone who wants to participate in the process,” explained Killer Zed, executive director of the New Brunswick Liberal Association. “I won’t comment on someone in particular but we’re excited to have lots of people interested in the job.”
Selecting a new leader is the first step in rebuilding the New Brunswick Liberal Party, after it lost leadership in the September provincial election.
WATCH: Gallant announces he’s stepping down as leader earlier than planned
“They can talk about rebuilding but they also are rebuilding from a very good place and since they did win the popular vote — in some ridings they lost by just 10-15 votes,” said University of New Brunswick (UNB) political scientist Don Wright. “So I don’t think it’s a disaster for the Liberal party.
“They have to have a pretty scandal-free background if they’re carrying baggage that could be difficult; they could be seen as one of the old boys, one of the old guard. It doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be fresh to the party, new to the party, but they shouldn’t be carrying much baggage, either.”
Nominations for candidates will be made available eight weeks before the convention and must be submitted by two weeks before the convention.
The convention will be held in Saint John. Traditionally the leadership races are alternated between the province’s three biggest cities, with Gallant being elected in Moncton back in 2012.