Former Kings East Liberal MLA LeRoy Armstrong has announced he is joining the People's Alliance of New Brunswick — a party that has never won a seat in the legislature.
Armstrong said in a People's Alliance press release that it's a big change for him, but a necessary one if politics is going to change in New Brunswick.
He says he believes the People's Alliance has the right policies to fix how New Brunswick is governed.
Armstrong was first elected as a Liberal in 1995 when then-premier Frank McKenna won his third majority government.
He lost his Kings East riding four years later, won it back in 2003 under leader Shawn Graham, and lost again in 2006.
Armstrong told CBC News he can't accept traditional Liberal policies, such as support for bilingualism.
There were also problems with ineligible voters in last year's Liberal leadership race, Armstrong said.
"For any intended leader to buy into that process, it certainly doesn't bode well for what I believe in," he said.
Upstart party feels 'validated'
Armstrong says he likes the Alliance's opposition to linguistic duality and its "common sense" approach to changing how government works.
Liberal MLA Victor Boudreau, who sat with Armstrong in the legislature, says he's surprised and disappointed his former party colleague has joined another party.
He says this is the first time he's heard Armstrong question bilingualism.
"I don't ever remember him raising it as a concern, but obviously it must have been something that was brewing inside, if this is the decision that he's made today," Boudreau said.
Alliance Leader Kris Austin says the upstart political party has been validated by having Armstrong join its ranks.
"He knows the things that are broken and the things that can make it better and he's validated, you know, the policies that we have put forward," he said.
This is the second defection by an ex-Liberal MLA this year. Last month former cabinet minister Kelly Lamrock joined the NDP.
The People's Alliance, which was founded in 2010, attracted the support of one per cent of respondents in a poll released last December, the fifth of five parties.
Armstrong, 77, says he's willing to run for the Alliance in next year's election.
But he says there's probably someone younger who could do a better job than him.