New Brunswick Liberals choose their new leader

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The New Brunswick Liberals Choose Their New Leader

Voting closes at 2 p.m. today, and the identity of the new leader or of the new leader will be known later in the afternoon.

A room at the convention center in Fredericton, New Brunswick, on August 5, 2022. The province's Liberal Party is holding its convention the next day during which it will announce the results of its leadership race.

Aware of the long road that separates them from a return to power, Liberal activists in New Brunswick will choose on Saturday the person they hope to see become premier in 2024.

The Liberal Party of New Brunswick leadership race will come to an end on Saturday afternoon, when the identity of the new leader will be known.

The four candidates are T. J. Harvey, Susan Holt, Donald Arseneault and Robert Gauvin.

Left to right: T. J. Harvey, Susan Holt, Donald Arseneault and Robert Gauvin.

The roughly 9,400 party members began voting last Saturday and will be able to do so until 2 p.m. today.

The first results are due to be announced around 2:15 p.m. at the Fredericton Convention Center. If the election requires the maximum of three rounds of voting, the final result could be known around 2:45 p.m. he objective of the political formation ousted from power in 2018 is to win the next general election, in two years.

Janick Cormier interviewed by Zoom, Friday.

A race for leadership, it's a little bit of an opportunity to realign and reorient ourselves as a party, and to have some new blood,” said Janick Cormier, Liberal vice-president of communications.

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It's for sure a perfect opportunity to start over and have a new face in the party, a new vision that will probably appeal to New Brunswickers better, she said.

In the summer 2020 elections, the Liberals had seen their deputies drop from 20 to 17 seats. Down 3.45%, their share of the popular vote fell below 35%.

According to the Liberal MP for Caraquet, Isabelle Thériault, the four candidates running for leadership have different backgrounds, but share the same important values. She said she wanted someone unifying, someone positive at the head of the party.

Isabelle Thériault, MNA for Caraquet, interviewed by Zoom, Friday.

It takes someone who will bring people together, not just the Liberal members, but the whole province. This is the government we are aiming for in 2024, says the MP.

We want it to be someone who will succeed in bringing together the four corners of the province, which will be attentive to the needs of New Brunswickers, adds Janick Cormier. She says that this work has already begun, since the four candidates have crisscrossed the province in recent months.

It's been 10 years since the Liberal Party had a real leadership race, and you have to go back to 1982 to find one with as many candidates as this year.< /p>

Kevin Vickers was leader of the Liberal Party for just over 16 months, from April 2019 to the 2020 election.

The last leadership race was none not really one for liberals. In 2019, the only candidate, Kevin Vickers, was crowned. He never managed to get elected and left office immediately after the general election.

This year, the candidates have had ample time and plenty of opportunities to explain what they have to offer, believes Wilfred Savoie, a longtime activist in Dieppe. He says he has seen a lot of interest in their ideas.

For the first time in some time, we have four candidates. And I think it's four candidates who are capable of leading the party, said Mr. Savoie.

We are very lucky, we have four bilingual candidates, which is very important to us, of course, mentioned MNA Isabelle Thériault.

This characteristic is unavoidable when observing the distribution of seats in the Legislative Assembly. In 2020, the majority English-speaking areas of the province turned largely to Blaine Higgs' Progressive Conservative Party, which won the majority it coveted.

According to Wilfred Savoie, the Liberal Party cannot content itself with garnering votes in the French-speaking regions. It is absolutely necessary to have candidates elected […] in the south of the province, he said.

For that, the political formation will have to rebuild an activist base, he adds.

It's no secret that the Liberal Party, in certain ridings — especially in ridings that you could call anglophone — there is work to be done at the organizational level. There are constituencies that have not had an annual meeting for years. Then, even on the French-speaking side, I think there was a break, says Wilfred Savoie.

Saturday's vote could be done over several rounds. This is an election where voting members must rank the candidates in order of preference.

According to MP Isabelle Thériault, this election is based on a system which is fair, since 100 points are within reach of candidates in each of the 49 ridings where Liberal members can vote, for a total of 4900 points.

To become leader, the candidate must obtain 2451 points, one more than half.

If no candidate obtains more than 50% of the votes in the first round of the vote, the person who finishes 4th is eliminated from the race. The 2nd choices of members who voted for this eliminated candidate are redistributed to the remaining three candidates, and another round of voting takes place.

The results of each round are announced 15 minutes after the results of the previous one. If a 3rd round of voting is necessary, the identity of the person who won the race should be known around 2:45 p.m.

Roger Melanson is since September 2020 the interim leader of the Liberal Party of New Brunswick and the leader of the official opposition. He was not a candidate for the leadership of the party.

If Robert Gauvin wins, he will become leader of the official opposition in Fredericton. If one of the other three wins, they will have to go through an election to win this title.

This role currently belongs to the deputy of Dieppe, Roger Melanson.

For almost two years as interim leader of the Liberal Party, he has not entered the race that ends on Saturday.

With information from Alix Villeneuve

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