Vickers urges premier to call byelections ahead of March deadline

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WATCH: According to the Elections Act, Blaine Higgs has to set one date next week for the byelections. Silas Brown has more – Mar 4, 2020

The leader of New Brunswick’s Liberal party is calling on premier Blaine Higgs to set dates for two byelections as soon as possible, despite a legislative deadline next week.

People in the riding of Saint Croix have been without representation since MLA Greg Thompson died in September, and the riding of Shediac Bay-Dieppe has been empty since former premier Brian Gallant resigned in October.

READ MORE: PCs may not run candidate against Vickers in Shediac Bay-Dieppe

“It’s critical for the citizens of Saint Croix and Shediac Bay-Dieppe to have representation in the house at the earliest possible opportunity,” said Liberal leader Kevin Vickers.

But Vickers’ call to action comes just a week before the March 11 deadline set out in New Brunswick’s Elections Act.

“[T]he Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall within six months from the date upon which the vacancy was so certified, direct the issue of a writ of election for the electoral district for which the vacancy occurred,” reads section 15(1) of the Act.
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READ MORE: New Brunswick premier says he’ll wait until March to set date for byelections

Higgs has already committed to that deadline multiple times. During a year-end interview with Global News on December 19 Higgs said he would set dates in March.

“I have about a six month period to do that and I think it runs out sometime in March and I will announce the dates for the by-elections at that time,” he said.

When the byelections will actually take place is another matter. Nothing in the Elections Act limits when a byelection must be held, only when the date for a by-election must be set.

Vickers said the Liberals will go about closing that loophole at the earliest possibility.

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