FEDERICTON, N.B. – Brian Gallant and his Liberal government have fallen after losing a confidence vote in the legislature this morning, opening the door for Blaine Higgs’s Progressive Conservatives to assume a governing role in the province.
The Liberal throne speech was defeated 25-23.
Although the three Green MLAs, including Memramcook-Tantramar MLA Megan Mitton, made good on their announcement earlier this week that they would back the Gallant government, the Progressive Conservatives came out on top of the vote, propped up by support from the three People’s Alliance MLAs.
The political landscape in New Brunswick has been in turmoil since the Sept. 24 provincial election, which saw the Progressive Conservatives take 22 seats and the Liberals 21. The Green Party and the People’s Alliance each claimed three seats. To form a majority government, a party must secure 25 of the 49 available seats. Although the PCs took more seats in September’s election, the Liberals won the most votes overall.
After a stalemate as to who would be appointed Speaker of the legislative assembly, with no party wanting to lose a vote in the legislature, Daniel Guitard, Liberal MLA for Restigouche-Chaleur, was elected to the role on Oct. 23.
This morning’s proceedings in the legislature got underway with Gallant making a speech to end debate on the throne speech, which was delivered on Oct. 23 by Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau.
Noting the importance one person can make, presumably in a last-ditch effort to gain support of at least one PC or People’s Alliance MLA, Gallant closed the speech with a quote from Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
Gallant will now visit Government House to inform Roy Vienneau his government has lost the confidence of the house. Gallant could ask her to call a new election, but she has indicated that would not be in the best interest of the province. Gallant also indicated he would not do so, as it would go against the message delivered by voters on election night.
“In the end, Mr. Speaker, this government, this group of individuals behind me, will respect the decision of this legislature, just as we respect the decision of the people,” he said in this morning’s speech.
After Gallant resigns, Higgs will visit Government House and will be asked by Roy Vienneau if he can form a government. He is expected to do so.
MORE TO COME . . .