CBC Digital Archives

Lord wins majority

Power doesn't change hands often in New Brunswick, but when it does, it's usually eventful. In 1960, Louis Robichaud became the province's first elected Acadian premier. Ten years later, Tory Richard (Disco Dick) Hatfield began his remarkable 17-year run, but it ended in scandal. Frank McKenna's Liberals then made an extraordinary clean sweep, winning all 58 seats. And in 1999, PC Bernard Lord made history when he became premier at the young age of 33, but he was edged out by fresh-faced PC Shawn Graham in 2006 after two terms in office. CBC Archives explores the key turning points in New Brunswick election history since 1960.

media clip
The tide in New Brunswick is blue again. After 12 years of Liberal rule, the Progressive Conservatives are back in power. The new premier is Bernard Lord, a young lawyer who has been the party's leader since 1997. When the election was called, Lord's party was behind in the polls. But the bilingual leader campaigned hard to pull off an impressive win for his party, taking 44 of 55 seats. In this CBC news clip, Lord tells cheering supporters he's ready to serve the people. 
• Heading into the 1999 election, the Liberals held 45 seats, the Tories had nine, and the NDP held one. After the votes were counted, the totals had almost reversed: the Tories had 44 seats, the Liberals had 10, and the NDP held onto its one seat.
• NDP leader Elizabeth Weir was battling her third election as NDP leader.
• Liberal leader Camille Thériault resigned two years later, in 2001, and was replaced by Shawn Graham.

• Bernard Lord was interested in politics from a young age, preferring to watch the news over hockey when he was as young as six. The son of an anglophone father and a francophone mother, he was president of the student association while studying law at the Université de Moncton. He first ran for the New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives in the 1995 election, but was defeated.

• Lord was elected leader of the Progressive Conservatives in 1997. His predecessor, Bernard Valcourt, had stepped down after receiving 62 per cent support at a party convention.
• Lord won on the second ballot by 235 votes, and one of his priorities as leader was to win a seat in the legislature. In a byelection, he defeated his highly touted Liberal opponent, former NHLer Charlie Bourgeois.

• During the election campaign, Lord took advantage of the Liberals' upbeat campaign to paint a picture of an arrogant government that "ran out of Frank McKenna's gas."
• Among the issues in the campaign was proposed toll highway from Fredericton to Moncton. A portion of the highway had already been built with federal dollars, and the Liberal government had begun charging tolls on it. Lord's Tories promised to cancel the tolls.

• "It's absolutely impossible for him to do everything he says he's going to do," said voter Gisele Duguay about Lord's campaign promises of tax cuts and spending increases. "But I'm willing to take a chance on him."
• At 33, Lord was the youngest premier in New Brunswick's history.

• In 2002, Lord was wooed by the federal Progressive Conservatives to replace Joe Clark as the party's leader. At a convention in Edmonton, Lord delivered a galvanizing speech that, along with his youth, bilingualism and demonstrated leadership abilities, convinced many members he'd be ideal for the job. In the end, however, he chose to stay on in New Brunswick.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 7, 1999
: Laurie Graham
Duration: 1:43

Last updated: January 19, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

Robert Bourassa: Political Survivor

Robert Bourassa made history in 1970 by becoming the youngest premier of Quebec, only to suffe...

Kim Campbell, First and Foremost

When Kim Campbell set her sights on Ottawa, she was a tart-tongued, unapologetically determine...

1959: Deadly hurricane strikes Escuminac, N.B...

A vicious hurricane strikes the Gulf of St. Lawrence, killing 35 and devastating the town of E...

Eva Aariak, a closer look

Eva Aariak has a long history of dedication to Nunavut and its educational development.

Nunavut's first female premier

Eva Aariak becomes Nunavut's second premier, and its first female leader.

The coronation of Danny Williams

Premier Williams rides a tidal wave of support to four more years at the helm.