Politics of New Brunswick

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Current provincial electoral map
Current federal electoral map

New Brunswick has a unicameral legislature with 55 seats. Elections are held at least every five years but may be called at any time by the Lieutenant Governor (the vice-regal representative) on consultation with the Premier. The Premier is the leader of the party that holds the most seats in the legislature.

There are two dominant political parties in New Brunswick, the Liberal Party and the Progressive Conservative Party. While consistently polling approximately 10% of the electoral vote since the early 1980s, the New Democratic Party has elected few members to the Legislative Assembly. From time to time, other parties such as the Confederation of Regions Party have held seats in the legislature, but only on the strength of a strong protest vote.

The dynamics of New Brunswick politics are different from those of other provinces in Canada. The lack of a dominant urban centre in the province means that the government has to be responsive to issues affecting all areas of the province. In addition, the presence of a large francophone minority dictates that consensus politics is necessary, even when there is a majority government present. In this manner, the ebb and flow of New Brunswick provincial politics parallels the federal stage.

Since 1960, the province has elected young bilingual leaders. This combination of attributes permits the premiers of New Brunswick to be influential players on the federal stage. Former Premier Bernard Lord (Progressive Conservative) has been touted as a potential leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Frank McKenna (premier, 1987–1997), had been considered to be a front-runner to succeed Prime Minister Paul Martin. Richard Hatfield (premier, 1970–1987) played an active role in the patriation of the Canadian constitution and creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Louis Robichaud (premier, 1960–1970) was responsible for a wide range of social reforms.

On September 19, 2006, the Liberals won a majority with 29 out of 55 seats, making 38-year old Shawn Graham the new Premier of New Brunswick.[1]

In the 2010 general election, the Progressive Conservatives won 42 out of 55 seats, making David Alward the 32nd Premier of New Brunswick.[2]

History[edit]

1867-1930[edit]

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick (1886-1930) - seats won by party
Government Liberal Con Liberal Con
Party 1886 1890 1892 1895 1899 1903 1908 1912 1917 1920 1925 1930
    Liberal 33 26 25 34 40 33 13 2 27 24 11 17
    Conservative 8 15 12 9 4 10 31 44 21 13 37 31
    United Farmers 9
    Farmer-Labour 2
    Independent 4 3 2 3 2 2
Total 41 41 41 46 46 46 46 48 48 48 48 48

From 1867 to 1878, party labels were not in use for general elections. While party identification began to be employed in the 1882 general election, parties did not become formally organized until the 1917 election, and were not legally recognized until 1935.

1935-1982[edit]

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick (1935-1982) - seats won by party
Government Liberal PC Liberal PC
Party 1935 1939 1944 1948 1952 1956 1960 1963 1967 1970 1974 1978 1982
    Liberal 43 29 36 47 16 15 31 32 32 26 25 28 18
    Conservative 5 19 12 5
    Progressive Conservative 36 37 21 20 26 32 33 30 39
    New Democrat 1
Total 48 48 48 52 52 52 52 52 58 58 58 58 58

Between 1935 and 1974, some ridings were multi member seats – i.e., more than one Member of the Legislative Assembly was elected from certain ridings. Since 1974, each riding (electoral district) has elected only one member to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.

1987 to present[edit]

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick (1987-2010) - seats won by party
Government Liberal PC Liberal PC
Party 1987 1991 1995 1999 2003 2006 2010
    Liberal 58 46 48 10 26 29 13
    Progressive Conservative 3 6 44 28 26 42
    New Democrat 1 1 1 1
    Confederation of Regions 8
Total 58 58 55 55 55 55 55

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ CBC News (September 2006). "Liberals topple Lord's Tories in New Brunswick". Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  2. ^ CBC News (September 2010). "Alward faces tough challenges after N.B. win". Retrieved 2011-02-12. 

External links[edit]