New Brunswick heading to the polls – Higgs calls snap election for September

Fredericton – In a move that shouldn’t surprise anyone following along, New Brunswick Premier announced Monday, August 17 he has asked the Lieutenant Governor Brenda Murphy to dissolve the 59th legislative assembly of New Brunswick, stating a provincial election will be held in 28 days, on Monday, September 14, 2020.

“I want New Brunswickers to know that I have consulted with our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jennifer Russell, and she advised we couple safely proceed with a general election,” said Higgs.

All four parties held talks last week following a request by Higgs that they all agree to not trigger an election before October 2022, regardless of the outcome of needed by-elections in three provincial ridings. Those talks broke down Friday, August 14, with Liberal party leader Kevin Vickers saying important questions were not being answered.

“New Brunswickers are in an election they do not need or want,” said Vickers in a statement following Higgs announcement.

“Despite the Liberal Party’s repeated and sincere offers to ensure a stable path well into 2021, Blaine Higgs chose to send New Brunswickers to the polls in the middle of a pandemic.”

“Today is not the day I hoped for,” said Higgs.

“The event of last week speaks for itself.  I thought we could have arrived at an agreement to govern with continued collaboration and stability.

“I believe New Brunswickers have been happy with how the all parties (committee) have worked together in a truly unprecedented manner over the last five months.”

In Saint Croix, the slate of candidates has seen some changes.  While the People’s Alliance candidate, Rod Cumberland, and the PC candidate, Kathy Bockus, have been on the card since the start of this dance, the Liberals have a new candidate in John Gardner following Karen Ludwig stepping down from the role, and the Green party currently sits without a candidate, as Andrew Sutton has also stepped out of the race.

In a press release, Chief Electoral Officer Kim Poffenroth cautioned it will take time to open all 50 returning offices to the public and candidates.

Poffenroth said in normal circumstances, the offices would be opened prior to an election call, but in this unique scenario, the wheels are only just going into motion today.

The addresses and phone numbers of the returning offices will be posted to the Elections New Brunswick website as they are ready to open to the public. Email addresses for the returning officers are already available online.

Poffenroth said candidate nomination papers and applications for a special ballot to vote by mail will not be able to be processed by the returning offices until those offices are fully operational.

“We will respect strict protocols and continue to behave in a way that keeps our province safe,” said Higgs.