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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 8:26 am    Post subject: PC's in New Brunswick to vote for new Leader Reply with quote

( there is a leadership vote this Saturday in New Brusnwick to elect a new leader of the pc's )

Progressive Conservative leadership vote promises to be unpredictable Saturday

With 7 candidates, more than one ballot probable

By Jacques Poitras, CBC News Posted: Oct 21, 2016 7:00 AM AT| Last Updated: Oct 21, 2016 7:05 AM AT

The leadership convention is Saturday, Oct. 22 at Fredericton’s Aitken Centre.

About The Author

Photo of Jacques Poitras

Jacques Poitras
Provincial Affairs reporter

Jacques Poitras has been CBC's provincial affairs reporter in New Brunswick since 2000. Raised in Moncton, he also produces the CBC political podcast Spin Reduxit.

The only thing predictable about Saturday's Progressive Conservative leadership vote is its unpredictability.

It's been almost two decades since a New Brunswick party leadership vote took more than one ballot and even longer since this many candidates were in the race.

But it's a scenario that's a virtual certainty this weekend with seven names on the ballot. No one is likely to hit the required 50 per cent in the first round.

The last vote to require more than one ballot was the PC contest in 1997, which featured four candidates. In that race, Bernard Lord won on the second ballot.

The 2008 PC leadership vote featured two candidates and the Liberal contest in 2012 had three.

Wireless Telecommunications 20131028
Bernard Lord was the last party leader elected in New Brunswick in more than one ballot. That race, in 1997, featured four candidates, with Lord winning on the second ballot. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Getting above 50 per cent on Saturday will require survivors of the first ballot to woo some of the candidates who are eliminated. That's what Lord pulled off in 1997, convincing two rivals to bring their supporters to him.

But that creates a range of scenarios, especially given that all seven are avoiding picking fights with each other in public.

Mild-mannered campaign

"It's a pretty mild-mannered campaign," says J.P. Lewis, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John.

"There's quite a consensus on a number of the issues.

"If we were to draw out a sketch on how the day unfolds, based on policy positions I find it difficult to sketch out where the endorsements would go."

One potentially dramatic, but plausible, turn of events would be if the leadership were won by someone other than the first-place finisher on the first ballot.

Stephane Dion placed third on the first ballot of the federal Liberal leadership race in 2006, but eventually won. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

There's a long history of this happening in Canada.

In 2006, Stephane Dion placed third on the first ballot of the federal Liberal leadership race. But Dion's support grew with each ballot and he passed front-runners Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae.

"The two front-runners couldn't come together and figure it out," Lewis says.

"It allowed for Dion to sneak up the middle."

In 1976, Joe Clark was third on the first ballot of the federal PC race, but picked up more endorsements from candidates who dropped off and won on the fourth ballot.

At the provincial level, premiers including Liberals Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne of Ontario and PC Alison Redford of Alberta won their party leaderships after coming from behind.

Momentum important

Eldon Hunter, a New Brunswick Liberal who attended the 2006 federal Liberal convention won by Dion, says the dynamic depends on who is seen to have momentum.

"There's a movement among the lower-tier ones [who drop off] toward who may be the winner," he says, but the second-place candidate also has a chance to pick up support.

J.P. Lewis
J.P. Lewis, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, says the Tory leadership race has been mild-mannered. (CBC)

Someone in third place on the first ballot "needs to be able to get into second place" on the next ballot if they hope to come up the middle, he says.

Adding to Saturday's unpredictability is that a large number of PC members will be voting in satellite voting stations.

That means candidates hoping to win over rival camps have to have supporters in each location twisting arms.

Besides the Aitken Centre in Fredericton, PC members can vote at locations in Moncton, Saint John, Bathurst, St-Leonard and the Fundy islands.

A further challenge: even if an eliminated candidate throws his or her support to someone else, it's not clear they can bring their supporters with them. Those members may vote for someone else, or just go home.

PC leadership rules say the last-place candidate and any candidate who doesn't get 15 per cent of the vote must drop off the next ballot.

But the second ballot can have a maximum of only four candidates, meaning the first-ballot candidates in fifth and sixth place are eliminated whether they get 15 per cent or not.

A maximum of two candidates can make it onto the third ballot.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Progressive Conservative leadership race: Blaine Higgs leads after 1st ballot

Blaine Higgs, Mel Norton, Monica Barley and Mike Allen are on the 2nd ballot

CBC News Posted: Oct 22, 2016 3:54 PM AT| Last Updated: Oct 22, 2016 6:08 PM AT

Former finance minister Blaine Higgs is leading after the first ballot in the Progressive Conservative leadership race. (Left to right) Former Saint John mayor Mel Norton, Moncton lawyer Monica Barley, Higgs and former MP Mike Allen are on the second ballot.

Former finance minister Blaine Higgs is leading after the first ballot in the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick leadership race.

Higgs has 1,228 votes, followed by former Saint John mayor Mel Norton's 1,078 votes, Moncton lawyer Monica Barley's 948 votes and former MP Mike Allen's 892 votes.

Higgs was the first to speak at the convention on Saturday. He focused his speech on his experience in the private sector and his role as finance minister.

Three candidates have been dropped off the ballot.

MLA Jake Stewart had 700 votes, followed by MLA Brian Macdonald with 605 votes and former MLA Jean Dube with 39 votes.

Second-ballot voting is underway.

Blaine Higgs
Higgs was greeting voters in advance of the second ballot. The former finance minister is in first place. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

There were 5,490 votes cast in the first round of voting, which means a candidate would have needed 2,746 to win.

Once the results were released, the candidates who dropped off the ballot began moving to other camps.

After finishing in seventh position, Dube announced he was backing Higgs.

Macdonald and Stewart, meanwhile, were both seen endorsing Barley.

Stewart said Barley was the only one who would listen to him on controversial language issues.

"She is the only one who will touch the language file," he said.

"I have worked with all six of them. And she is the only one who believes in change on that file."

Barley, Stewart and Macdonald support
Jake Stewart (left) and Brian Macdonald both announced their support for Barley on the second ballot of the PC leadership race on Saturday. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

Barley told Stewart's supporters that she is "truly, truly willing" to work with him on the language file.

Stewart has been openly critical of Katherine D'Entremont, the commissioner of official languages, during his leadership campaign.

Barley was asked whether she thought the languages commissioner should be fired.

"What I can say is that the language commissioner should be a position that is bringing us together, and she's not doing that and we have to rectify that," Barley said.

It is unclear how many of Stewart's supporters will be following him over to Barley's camp on the second ballot. Voting had already started when the candidates' announced their support.

In the event of a third ballot, only two candidates would remain in contention.

The main venue of the leadership convention is in Fredericton, however, there are satellite voting stations set up in Moncton, Saint John, Bathurst and Saint Leonard.

There are also smaller voting locations on Grand Manan Island, Deer Island, and Campobello Island.

The leadership race began when former premier David Alward resigned after his government was defeated by Brian Gallant's Liberals in 2014.

The Liberals have 26 seats in the legislature, the Progressive Conservatives have 22 and there is one Green MLA.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blaine Higgs chosen as the new leader of New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives

He was chosen on the third ballot Saturday at a leadership convention

The Canadian Press
Written by
The Canadian Press

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

FREDERICTON – Blaine Higgs is the new leader of New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservative party.

He was chosen on the third ballot Saturday at a leadership convention in Fredericton.

There were seven candidates in the running for the party’s top job, replacing David Alward who quit after the party lost the 2014 election to the Liberals.

Bruce Fitch has been the interim leader of the party since then.

Roughly 5,500 party members voted in the first ballot at the Aitken Centre in Fredericton and satellite locations around the province, but that dwindled to about 2,700 on the third ballot.

Party president Jason Stephen says voting took much longer than expected because of the number of people voting, especially at the satellite locations.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blaine Higgs Is The New PC Leader for New Brunswick

Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2016 22:54 PM

On a very long Saturday in Fredericton, Quispamsis MLA Blaine Higgs became the new PC leader of New Brunswick.

Three ballots were needed before Higgs defeated former Saint John mayor Mel Norton. Higgs got 1564 votes on the last ballot to Norton's 1168.

In his victory speech, he said "We have a party to rebuild and a party to unite but guess what? We are the future of this Province".

Speaking to reporters later, Higgs talked about education saying some things need to be worked on collectively. He says we should ask educators what is needed to see students graduate with skills. He says government needs to get out the way and let educators create the curriculum.

Higgs says he ran a different campaign calling it a tough battle. He says they will put the province first and politics second adding that is not just a slogan for him.

Delays in Fredericton and in Saint John at satellite voting centres created delays at the convention. Jason Stephen, the president of the PC party of New Brunswick, says the issues were volume based. The weather may have played a role where some delegates didn't travel from Saint John.

Stephen points out that the people doing the counting are volunteers. He says he tells people that are upset with him that everyone is trying to do their best.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blaine Higgs named NB Progressive Conservative leader

by Nathan DeLong

 0

Quispamsis MLA Blaine Higgs, left, speaks after being named leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick with his wife, Marcia, by his side Saturday at the Aitken Centre in Fredericton. Photo: Nathan DeLong/The AQ

Blaine Higgs can now plan on leading the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick into the 2018 provincial election.

The former Irving Oil employee who was finance minister in the last Tory government beat ex-Saint John mayor Mel Norton on the third and final ballot at Saturday’s leadership convention at the Aitken Centre.

“We need to put the province first and politics second,” said Higgs. “We’re going to do politics differently.”

An MLA for Quispamsis, Higgs received 1,564 votes on the third ballot, good for 57 per cent of the 2,732 ballots cast.

Norton earned 1,168 votes, or 43 per cent support from party delegates.

Higgs and Norton were only two of the seven candidates seeking the leadership, however.

Other contestants were Moncton lawyer Monica Barley, former federal MP Mike Allen, Fredericton West-Hanwell MLA Brian Macdonald, Miramichi-Bay du Vin MLA Jake Stewart and Dieppe businessman Jean Dubé.

Higgs led the way after the opening round of voting with 1,228 votes, or 22 per cent. Sitting 150 votes behind him was Norton, who garnered 1,078 votes (19 per cent).

Barley and Allen also advanced to the next round with 948 votes (17 per cent) and 892 votes (16 per cent) respectively.

In order to advance to the second ballot, candidates had to garner the support of at least 15 per cent of delegates, but a maximum of four got a second chance to ask the party faithful to back them.

Stewart earned 700 votes (12 per cent), but dropped off after the preliminary ballots were cast. Macdonald was 95 votes behind him with 605, or 11 per cent.

After falling just short of a spot on second ballot, Stewart and Macdonald threw their support behind Barley.

“In order to be successful in the next election, we need to reach out to all corners of the province,” Macdonald said following the convention.

“[As a party], we’re going to help [Higgs] reach out to all New Brunswickers.”

Dubé, a former MLA, only received 39 votes after the first ballot. He endorsed Higgs after the defeat.

After delegates voted for the second time on Saturday, Higgs paced his opponents with 1,417 votes (34 per cent), but Norton stayed within shouting distance after being supported by 993 party delegates.

Barley placed third with 861 votes (21 per cent), while Allen garnered 829 votes (20 per cent).

They both fell victim to the limit of two candidates on the final ballot.

“Our team did a great job,” Allen said after the convention wrapped up. “We came out from the beginning with some things we wanted to stand for, and we did all that and didn’t compromise ourselves.”

Allen supported Higgs for the leadership after his loss, and Barley joined the Norton camp after her defeat.

Higgs takes the reins as official opposition leader at a time when New Brunswick faces major fiscal, economic and demographic challenges.

The province has an aging population and a death rate that has eclipsed the number of people born, along with an unemployment rate that has stayed at around 10 per cent in recent years.

As well, New Brunswick’s net debt is on track to surpass $13.4 billion in March 2017, and the province is running a deficit that’s between $262 million and $342 million.

Higgs said the solution to those issues is to capitalize on all opportunities to solve the province’s woes.
“Is this province moving forward? Or is it moving backwards?” he said.

“How will we get on a trail that’s going to fix it?”


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can province's new PC leader bring party together to win next election?

Tories opt for managerial competence over perceived electability

By Jacques Poitras, CBC News Posted: Oct 24, 2016 6:30 AM AT| Last Updated: Oct 24, 2016 6:30 AM AT
Blaine Higgs works the floor for support after the first ballot. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

By choosing Blaine Higgs as their new leader, New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives have headed into uncharted political waters.

In a political world where the two mainstream parties pick young lawyers more often than not, Higgs is a retired engineer and is 62 years old – the oldest new party leader in recent memory.

He's an advocate of fiscal prudence in a province where public-sector spending is an integral part of the economy.
■Blaine Higgs wins New Brunswick Progressive Conservative leadership race

And despite the conventional wisdom that a party leader must be bilingual in a province that is one-third francophone, Higgs does not speak French.

Remarkably, Tories seem to have opted for managerial competence over perceived electability – though Higgs himself disputes the idea that his reputation for fiscal prudence will drive away voters.

Perhaps, he said Saturday night, the membership's willingness to elevate an anti-politician will be rewarded.

"With this victory tonight, we basically have an opportunity to say, `Wow, he was elected on doing politics differently.' What message does that send across the province? How many people are going to say `Well it's about time?'"

He added: "I've always had the belief that if you do the right thing, the rest will follow."

Lack of support from MLAs

Even so, Higgs' fiscal rectitude didn't win him big support among his fellow PC MLAs. The two other elected members running for leader, Brian Macdonald and Jake Stewart, didn't back him when they were dropped after the first ballot Saturday. Instead, they opted for Moncton lawyer Monica Barley.
■Blaine Higgs using outsider status in PC leadership bid

Barley is 39 years old and, like Bernard Lord and Brian Gallant when they became leaders, has never held elective office. The move by Macdonald and Stewart looked like it would propel her to victory.

But Barley's support faltered on the second ballot. She was in third place and was automatically eliminated.

Macdonald said after Higgs was declared the winner that the caucus will back him. "We have a unified team now," he said. "A convention is a special thing, but today we go forward with a new chief for the party, a new leader."

The two candidates who did swing support behind Higgs, former MPs Mike Allen and Jean Dubé, have never worked with him.

Commits to learning French

Higgs's lack of fluency in French was a key issue in the leadership vote. When Barley dropped off the ballot after the second round on Saturday, she backed former Saint John mayor Mel Norton, citing his bilingualism.

Monica Barley
Leadership hopeful Monica Barley says she backed former Saint John mayor Mel Norton after she lost on the second ballot because Norton is bilingual. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

"First and foremost I think someone needs to be able to speak and understand everyone in the province," Barley told reporters.

Higgs has promised to learn French in time for the next election in September 2018. He repeated that vow Saturday night, adding, "I feel I can learn the French language a whole lot faster than any of my colleagues could replace the experience that I have."

Allen says Higgs will have to improve his French, but he can also build his credibility in francophone New Brunswick by recruiting strong PC candidates in those areas.

But political scientist Roger Ouellette of the University of Moncton says the convention outcome is a gift for the Gallant Liberals. "I think they'll pop champagne," he said.

"It's not only the language barrier. It's also the attitude, the values," he added, pointing to Higgs' criticism of the province's dual school bus system. That arrangement, with separate buses for children in the English and French school systems, is now the subject of a constitutional reference case before the New Brunswick Court of Appeal.

Common sense decisions

Higgs told reporters if the court rules the dual system is constitutionally required, that'll be the end of the debate for him. "That's it. If it's a ruling of the court, that's fine."

Blaine Higgs
Blaine Higgs was elected leader of the New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Party Oct. 22 in Fredericton. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

But he said parents of children at the francophone school in his riding of Quispamsis "told me directly: `it's not an issue for us.' … If the parents don't think it make sense, why can't we make some decisions that are common sense?"

Macdonald, who campaigned on creating a broad-based coalition in the PC party but placed sixth on the first ballot Saturday, said the party will come together to help Higgs appeal across the language divide.

"There's no doubt that to get success in the next election, we need to reach out to all corners of the province," he said Saturday. "I believe Blaine Higgs is a new leader who will be supported by a party that can help him do that.

"He's demonstrated the interest in learning French, and we're going to help him reach out to different parts of the province."

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PC's in New Brunswick to vote for new Leader

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