Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick

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Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick
Parti progressiste-conservateur du Nouveau-Brunswick
Active provincial party
Leader Blaine Higgs
President Rick Lafrance
Secretary Jennifer Teed Atkinson
Vice President Chris McLaughlin
Representative & Official Agent Robert Hatheway
Founded 1867 (1867)
Headquarters Fredericton, New Brunswick
Youth wing PC Youth
Ideology Liberal conservatism
Red Toryism[1]
Political position Centre-right
National affiliation Conservative Party of Canada
Colours Blue, Red, Yellow
Seats in Legislature
22 / 49

The Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick is a centre-right, conservative political party in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The party has its origins in the pre-Canadian confederation Conservative Party that opposed the granting of responsible government to the colony. It has historically followed the Red Tory tradition.[1] The Progressive Conservative Party was last in provincial government between 2010 and 2014 under the leadership of David Alward.


Initially, Conservative supporters tended to be United Empire Loyalists and supporters of the business community. In the 1860s, both the Conservative and Liberal parties split over the issue of Canadian confederation, and were replaced by the Confederation Party and the Anti-Confederation Party. By 1870, the pro-Confederation party became generally known as the Liberal-Conservatives or just "Conservatives", and were aligned with the national Conservative Party of Sir John A. Macdonald.

The party was aligned with the historic federal Conservative party. When the federal party changed its name to the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 1942, the New Brunswick party did the same. The federal Progressive Conservative Party dissolved in 2003, in order to merge with the Canadian Alliance and a new Conservative Party of Canada was created. The provincial party has no formal link with the current federal Conservative Party, but several of its members and elected MLAs, including former premier Premier Lord, publicly endorsed the federal party and in some cases its candidates in the 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015 federal elections.

Following the change of government in 2006 provincial election, Bernard Lord resigned as leader on December 13, 2006 and as the member of Moncton East. On December 19, Jeannot Volpé, MLA for Madawaska les Lacs-Edmundston, was selected as interim leader. On October 18, 2008, David Alward, MLA for Carleton, was elected leader of the party at the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick Leadership Convention in Fredericton. Alward beat his only opponent, Robert MacLeod, by a margin of 2,269 votes to 1,760.

The Progressive Conservatives won a sweeping majority, with 42 of 55 seats in the 2010 provincial election. In doing so, PC party leader David Alward became the 32nd Premier of New Brunswick.

In 2013, Saint John area MLA Dr. Jim Parrot Parrott, a retired heart surgeon and former head of the New Brunswick Heart Centre, was kicked out of the caucus after criticizing his government over health issues.

The controversial backbencher had spoken out about bilingualism and duality, and written a newspaper commentary about a lack of consultation with physicians. Before the 2014 election, he was allowed to return [2]

His government was defeated after one term in the 2014 provincial election, after which Alward announced his resignation as party leader — On October 18, 2014, Bruce Fitch was selected as interim leader of the party and Leader of the Opposition of New Brunswick.[3] The next Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick leadership election was held on October 22, 2016, which elected Blaine Higgs as the new leader of the party and will be sworn in as Leader of the Opposition of New Brunswick.[4]

Ideology and electoral base[edit]

The Tories have alternated power with the New Brunswick Liberal Association since Confederation. The party tends to hold a moderate Red Tory stance, being socially and fiscally centrist.[1]

For most of New Brunswick's history, the party had greater support among English speakers, while the Liberals were more popular among Acadians. However, initiatives by the governments of Richard Hatfield and Bernard Lord to include Acadians in the mainstream of New Brunswick life helped the party make inroads in Acadia. In fact, even though he was born in Quebec, former Premier Bernard Lord is widely perceived to be an Acadian, due to his Francophone heritage and the fact that he was raised in Moncton where he attended French language schools and university.

Election results[edit]

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
1935 Leonard Tilley 40.2
5 / 48
Increase 5 Increase 2nd Opposition
1939 Frederick Squires 45.0
19 / 48
Increase 14 Steady 2nd Opposition
1944 Hugh Mackay 40.0
12 / 48
Decrease 7 Steady 2nd Opposition
1948 Hugh Mackay 31.2
5 / 52
Decrease 7 Steady 2nd Opposition
1952 Hugh John Flemming 48.9
36 / 52
Increase 31 Increase 1st Majority
1956 Hugh John Flemming 52.2
37 / 52
Increase 1 Steady 1st Majority
1960 Hugh John Flemming 46.2
21 / 52
Decrease 16 Decrease 2nd Opposition
1963 Cyril Sherwood 48.2
20 / 52
Increase 4 Steady 2nd Opposition
1967 Charles Van Horne 47.1
26 / 58
Increase 6 Steady 2nd Opposition
1970 Richard Hatfield 48.4
32 / 58
Increase 6 Increase 1st Majority
1974 Richard Hatfield 145,304 46.9
33 / 58
Increase 1 Steady 1st Majority
1978 Richard Hatfield 44.4
30 / 58
Decrease 3 Steady 1st Majority
1982 Richard Hatfield 47.5
39 / 58
Increase 9 Steady 1st Majority
1987 Richard Hatfield 116,798 28.6
0 / 58
Decrease 39 Decrease 2nd N/A
1991 Dennis Cochrane 85,210 20.7
3 / 58
Increase 3 Decrease 3rd Opposition
1995 Bernard Valcourt 120,247 30.9
6 / 55
Increase 3 Increase 2nd Opposition
1999 Bernard Lord 209,008 53.0
44 / 55
Increase 38 Increase 1st Majority
2003 Bernard Lord 174,092 45.5
28 / 55
Decrease 16 Steady 1st Majority
2006 Bernard Lord 177,744 47.5
26 / 55
Decrease 2 Decrease 2nd Opposition
2010 David Alward 181,397 48.8
42 / 55
Increase 16 Increase 1st Majority
2014 David Alward 128,848 34.6
21 / 49
Decrease 21 Decrease 2nd Opposition

Current members of the legislature[edit]

Name Electorate First Elected Notes
Jeff Carr New Maryland-Sunbury 2014 Transportation and Infrastructure Critic
Jody Carr Oromocto-Lincoln 1999
Gary Crossman Hampton 2014 Education Critic
Mado Dubé Edmundston-Madawaska Centre 1999 Opposition House Leader; Health Critic
Stewart Fairgrieve Carleton 2015 Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Critic
Bruce Fitch Riverview 2003
Ted Flemming Rothesay 2012 Justice Critic; Shadow Attorney General
Blaine Higgs Quispamsis 2010 Leader of the Opposition and Finance Critic
Trevor Holder Portland-Simonds 1999 Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Critic
Brian Keirstead Albert 2014 Environment Critic
Pam Lynch Fredericton-Grand Lake 2010 Opposition Caucus Chair
Brian Macdonald Fredericton West-Hanwell 2010 Government Services Critic
Kirk MacDonald Fredericton-York 1999 Economic Development Critic
Bruce Northrup Sussex-Fundy-St. Martins 2006 Public Safety Critic
Bill Oliver Kings Centre 2014 Natural Resources Critic
Dorothy Shephard Saint John Lancaster 2010 Human Resources Critic
Glen Savoie Saint John East 2014
Ernie Steeves Moncton Northwest 2014 Social Development Critic
Jake Stewart Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin 2010 Energy and Mines Critic
Carl Urquhart Carleton-York 2006 Opposition Whip
Ross Wetmore Gagetown-Petitcodiac 2010 Tourism, Heritage and Culture Critic
Sherry Wilson Moncton Southwest 2010 Local Government Critic; Health and Inclusive Communities Critic

Party leaders[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Johnson, David (2011). Thinking Government: Public Administration and Politics in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 79. ISBN 9781442603967. 
  2. ^ "Dr. Jim Parrott rejoins Progressive Conservative caucus | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-09-22. 
  3. ^ "New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives choose Bruce Fitch as interim leader". Toronto Star. Canadian Press. October 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Blaine Higgs wins New Brunswick Progressive Conservative leadership race". CBC News. October 22, 2016.