Amidst a modest crowd on Fredericton’s northside, former Tobique—Mactaquac MP T.J. Harvey announced his bid for leadership of the New Brunswick Liberal Party.
“I’m optimistic about New Brunswick and New Brunswickers,” he said in his speech Tuesday.
Speaking to the crowd in both French and English, Harvey expressed the need for change for New Brunswick to grow and prosper, with the words “stronger together” written in white on a bright red background behind him.
“Together, we can get New Brunswick back on track,” he said.
Harvey said his federal experience was a part of his decision to run for the leadership but also he felt the province needs strong leadership.
He is a former federal Liberal MP and was first elected in 2015. Harvey did not re-offer in the 2019 election.
At the time, he said his decision was about his “desire to return to work in the private sector.”
Different circumstances than Vickers
Harvey is the first person to announce his bid for the role since former leader Kevin Vickers resigned following the October 2020 election, which not only saw him fail at denying Blaine Higgs his majority, but did not secure a seat for himself.
Harvey said on Tuesday a lot of things are different than when Vickers was at the helm.
“I think the circumstances are different, and I think New Brunswickers’ opinions this time around are different, and I think what I have to offer the New Brunswick people is also different,” he said.
In October 2020, the Liberal Party lost three seats and earned about 34.3 per cent of the vote. The Progressive Conservative party gained seven seats with 39.3 per cent of the vote.
Support from Liberal MLAs
Miramichi Bay-Neguac MLA Lisa Harris was on hand to support Harvey.
“Now we have a young, energetic, qualified, experienced, caring, family man that is willing to put his name forward and you can see that he has it in his gut,” she said on Tuesday.
Harris, who has announced she’ll be seeking the federal Liberal nomination for Miramichi-Grand Lake in the wake of Pat Finnigan’s decision not to re-offer, said there is room for real co-operation between the provincial and federal parties.
The Liberal Association of New Brunswick said the details on the leadership convention haven’t been established. However, they are meeting to appoint a steering committee on July 8.