Liberal Leader Brian Gallant cruised to an easy victory in Monday’s Kent byelection and immediately started to outline his vision for his leadership and government.
Gallant earned 3,543 votes on Monday compared to 1,615 votes for NDP candidate Susan Levi-Peters and 837 votes for Progressive Conservative candidate Jimmy Bourque.
In his victory speech, Gallant promised a different kind of leadership and a different kind of government.
"We want to have a culture of politics where it's inclusive, where we make sure that all regions are represented, where we make sure that women are involved, that young people are voting," Gallant said.
"We want to make sure that politics is about inclusivity, it's about accountability, it's about civility, less patronage and more about what's right for all New Brunswickers."
The Kent byelection was called after former premier Shawn Graham resigned in February following a scathing reported by the province’s conflict-of-interest commissioner into his handling of the Atcon file.
The Atcon controversy started when the former Liberal government offered the Miramichi-based manufacturing company three loan guarantees worth $50 million. Retired Justice Patrick Ryan found Graham had been in a conflict and said he should be fined $3,500.
Once the results are made official by Elections New Brunswick, there will be 41 Progressive Conservatives, 13 Liberals and one independent in the legislature.
Gallant will be the first person outside of the Graham family to hold the Kent seat since 1967. Alan Graham represented the riding from 1967 to 1998 and Shawn Graham won the riding in a 1998 byelection.
Gallant will be the last MLA to represent the existing riding of Kent. The Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission has proposed creating two Kent ridings where there are now three.
Plan for the economy
Gallant won the Liberal party’s leadership in October. He will now have a chance to debate his party’s vision for the province inside the legislature when he takes his seat.
Gallant used his victory speech on Monday night to start talking about how he would get the province’s economy back on track.
He said he has a plan that will set the right conditions for economic recovery to happen.
"Conditions like investing in route 11, conditions like having a proactive economic development agency in all the regions conditions like making sure we have a skilled workforce by investing in education, training, life-long learning, literacy, pre-school, post-secondary education," Gallant said.
"We want to make sure we invest in research and development and innovation."
Gallant also said he would offer constructive ideas and would work together with the Alward government to improve the economy of New Brunswick.