Brian Gallant

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The Honourable
Brian Gallant
LL.M., MLA
Brian Gallant, New Brunswick, Canada's Liberal leader.png
33rd Premier of New Brunswick
Assumed office
October 7, 2014
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Graydon Nicholas
Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau
Preceded by David Alward
Leader of the Opposition of New Brunswick
In office
April 30, 2013 – October 7, 2014
Preceded by Victor Boudreau
Succeeded by Bruce Fitch
Leader of the New Brunswick Liberal Association
Assumed office
October 27, 2012
Preceded by Shawn Graham
Victor Boudreau (interim)
Member of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly
for Shediac Bay-Dieppe
Kent (2013-2014)
Assumed office
April 15, 2013
Preceded by Shawn Graham[1]
Personal details
Born Brian Alexander Gallant
(1982-04-27) April 27, 1982 (age 35)
Shediac Bridge, New Brunswick
Political party Liberal
Occupation Politician, Lawyer

Brian Alexander Gallant (born April 27, 1982) is the 33rd and current Premier of New Brunswick since October 7, 2014. Of Acadian and Dutch descent, Gallant practised as a lawyer before winning the Liberal leadership in October 2012, securing the riding of Kent in a by-election on April 15, 2013, shortly followed by his swearing in as Leader of the Opposition. After the 2014 election, in which the Progressive Conservative government of David Alward was defeated, Gallant now represents the riding of Shediac Bay-Dieppe.

At age 32, he was the second youngest Premier of New Brunswick to assume office (George Edwin King became premier at age 30 in 1870.) Currently, at age 35, Gallant is the youngest premier in Canada.

Early life[edit]

Gallant was born in Shediac Bridge. His Acadian father, Pierre, was the youngest of seven children, while his mother, Marilyn (born Scholten), was the child of Dutch immigrants who arrived in the 1950s.[2] He also has two siblings, Melissa and Pierre. In his youth, he was educated at a variety of schools across New Brunswick; he ascribed his many moves to his parents' search for work, labouring at minimum wage jobs in convenience stores and fast food restaurants, eventually having to move the family into the small home of Gallant's grandparents.[3] He ended up graduating from Polyvalente Louis-J.-Robichaud back in Shediac - his principal recalled telling Gallant he predicted he would one day be Premier, saying, "You have all the qualities of being a future premier here in New Brunswick."[4] Gallant says his interest in politics started when, with nobody else offering, he became vice president of his grade 5 class, and by the end of his teenage years he decided he would pursue a political career.[4]

In order to pay his way through university, he started and ran two small companies, eventually allowing him to graduate from the Université de Moncton with both a BA in Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Laws degree, later receiving a Master's in Law from McGill University.[2] Whilst at Moncton, he was made president of the student federation.[3] Afterwards, he practised corporate and commercial law with the firm Stewart McKelvey, and then became a partner at Veritas Law in Dieppe.

Early political career[edit]

His first foray into provincial politics was an ambitious one as, at 24, he secured the Liberal nomination to run against Premier Bernard Lord in the Progressive Conservative's riding of Moncton East for the 2006 election.[4] Although in the end Lord held his seat, the election was far from being a runaway. The campaign against a sitting premier gave added exposure to Gallant.

When the Liberal government of Shawn Graham was defeated in 2010, Gallant authored a paper on reforming the Liberal Party, to make it more accessible for new members and a new generation of leaders to emerge; many of its recommendations were reportedly adopted. After Graham's resignation as leader of the party, Gallant put himself forward to succeed him, winning against former justice minister Mike Murphy and dairy farmer Nick Duivenvorden in its 2012 leadership election.[3] After a successful by-election run in Graham's former riding of Kent, where he gained a commanding lead, Gallant was sworn into the Legislative Assembly on April 30, 2013, making him Leader of the Opposition to David Alward's PC government.[2]

Leader of the Opposition[edit]

Heading into the 2014 election campaign, Gallant pushed a $900 million package of infrastructure spending over six years as a way to create 1,700 jobs for a province with one of the country's worst unemployment rates. He also campaigned on a tax rise for some of the province's biggest earners,[5] and on removing property tax breaks for businesses.[6] The Liberal platform also promised a rise in the minimum wage, from $10 per hour, to $10.30 per hour by the end of 2014, and to $11 by the end of 2017.[7]

Premier[edit]

On an election night marred by technical glitches with the voting tabulators, the Liberals won a majority and formed the government in the 58th New Brunswick Legislature with Gallant as Premier on October 7, 2014. Gallant's first cabinet, of 13 members, was less numerous than the outgoing cabinet.[8]

On 1 December 2015, the Gallant government opened the legislature's second session with a promise to "get tough" on the province's tattered finances. The speech from the throne documented how the province had accumulated a debt of $12.4 billion by failing to produce a balanced budget since 2007. The province spent more on interest payments than it did on post-secondary education, and the consultation of citizens called the "Strategic Program Review" had all but concluded. The province said its credit rating was at risk, and the costs to service the debt if the rating were downgraded would then rise. The projected deficit for the 2015-16 budget was at the time $453 million. A report issued the previous Friday had calculated at $300 million the benefit to the government of a two-percent rise of the Harmonised Sales Tax from 13% to 15%.[9]

Electoral record[edit]

New Brunswick general election, 2006: Moncton East
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Progressive Conservative Bernard Lord 3816 54.8% +2.7%
Liberal Brian Gallant 2827 40.6% +1.8%
New Democratic Mark Robar 319 4.6% -4.4%
2012 Liberal leadership election results[10]
Candidate Points %
Brian Gallant 3,259.44 59.26
Michael Murphy 2,089.39 37.99
Nick Duivenvoorden 151.17 2.75
April 15, 2013 by-election: Kent
Party Candidate Votes % ±
     Liberal Brian Gallant 3,543 59.10% +3.38
     NDP Susan Levi-Peters[11] 1,615 26.94% +11.62
     Progressive Conservative Jimmy Bourque[12] 837 13.96% -11.79

[13]

New Brunswick general election, 2014: Shediac Bay-Dieppe
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Brian Gallant 5,661 64.61
Progressive Conservative Dolorès Poirier 1,678 19.15
New Democratic Agathe Lapointe 803 9.16
Green Stephanie Matthews 620 7.08
Total valid votes 8,762 69.54
Eligible voters 12,643
Liberal notional gain Swing

References[edit]

  1. ^ Member for Kent, riding was split for the next election and Gallant ran in new seat of Shediac Bay-Dieppe
  2. ^ a b c "Brian Gallant". Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. 1 May 2013. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Meet Brian". New Brunswick Liberal Association. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Tucker, Erika (23 September 2014). "Who is New Brunswick Premier-designate Brian Gallant?". Global News. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  5. ^ cbc.ca: "Brian Gallant defends tax plan on richest New Brunswickers", 12 Sep 2014
  6. ^ nbliberal.ca: "2014 New Brunswick Liberal Party Platform", Sep 2014
  7. ^ cbc.ca: "David Alward's PCs pitch tourism marketing fund", 2 Sep 2014
  8. ^ cbc.ca: "Brian Gallant's smaller cabinet faces long list of demands", 7 Oct 2014
  9. ^ G+M: "New Brunswick throne speech warns of looming get-tough budget", 1 Dec 2015
  10. ^ Huras, Adam (October 29, 2012). "Gallant elected new Liberal Leader". TelegraphJournal.com. Retrieved October 29, 2012. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Susan Levi-Peters wins NDP nomination in Kent". CBC News. March 24, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Kent byelection Tory candidate acclaimed". CBC News. March 19, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Elections New Brunswick". Gnb.ca. Retrieved 2014-08-27.