Welcome to Season 10 of The View Up Here. And here we go...
New Brunswick heads to the polls on September 24th to elect a new Provincial Government. The 39th general election has five parties in contention, but only two are considered to have a chance to lead the next Legislature. At dissolution, the Liberal Party led by Premier Brian Gallant held 25 seats out of 49, the slimmest of majorities. The Progressive Conservative party led by Blaine Higgs, a former 20-plus year employee of Irving Oil, is the only other party that can possibly win a majority by any estimate. The spectre of a minority result is a real possibility, bringing three other parties and their leaders into the main picture.
David Coon leads the New Brunswick Green Party sitting as the only MLA for them and has consistently spoken out against the hegemony in place for decades. Kris Austin leads the New Brunswick People's Alliance, a populist party less than a decade old that threatens to steal PC votes more than anything else. Jennifer McKenzie leads the New Brunswick New Democratic Party, which has not elected an MLA to Fredericton since 2005.
The issues of the campaign are not new by any measure, nor are they lessening. Net migration out of the province, an aging population, shrinking tax base and narrowing of economic power. Promises abound regarding promised spending on health care and economic stimulation from all but the PCs who have chosen their lead issue to be... Carbon Tax. PC Leader Higgs has pledged to join the court case with Ontario and Saskatchewan against the national carbon emissions plan.
What else is not new, for decades, is the power of the Irving family. Oil & Gas, Forestry and Media are three sectors under complete Irving control. A private empire, the Irvings own the largest oil refinery in Canada and dictate their will no matter who is in power. So who is for New Brunswickers and who is for the Irvings? TVUH takes a look.