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Shawn Graham: ‘Time for something new’

The Story

New Brunswick has spoken. "After seven years, it was time for something new," explains host Peter Mansbridge in this 2006 CBC-TV clip. In tonight's election, 39-year-old Liberal Shawn Graham defeats Lord's PC government. The Liberals take 29 of the 55 provincial seats, with the PCs winning the other 26. As this news report points out, it was actually a relatively uneventful campaign for New Brunswick. Lord and Graham both had strikingly similar platforms, and there weren't really any hot-button issues. 

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Sept. 18, 2006
Guests: Allison Brewer, Don Desserud, Shawn Graham, Jack Layton, Bernard Lord
Host: Tom Murphy
Duration: 2:06

Did You know?

• Shawn Graham was born in New Brunswick on Feb. 22, 1968.

• He earned bachelor's degrees in physical education and education from the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University in Fredericton. He worked as a teacher briefly before entering politics.

• His father Alan Graham had been a member of the New Brunswick legislative assembly from 1967 to 1998, representing the riding of Kent. Shawn was elected as his replacement in a 1998 by-election when his father retired.

• Shawn Graham became leader of the province's Liberal party in 2002.

• On New Brunswick's 2006 election day, a Canadian Press article commented on the bland nature of the campaign: "The month-long campaign was a largely uneventful affair, characterized by caution on the part of Lord, Graham and the NDP's Allison Brewer... both Lord and Graham ran smooth, safe campaigns that promised New Brunswickers a lower cost of living, more jobs, and better opportunities under their administrations."

• A Cape Breton Post article agreed, amusingly noting, "Premier Bernard Lord, Liberal Leader Shawn Graham and NDP Leader Allison Brewer have been so polite and so careful to avoid mistakes, their soporific campaigns have been like sleep tonics."

• The most important campaign issues in 2006 appeared to be education, health care, senior care, jobs and gas prices. But most pundits agreed that Lord and Graham had virtually indistinguishable stances on nearly all the issues.

• One of the more unusual issues of the election was "moose fencing" - putting up fences to keep moose off the roads, thereby reducing accidents caused by collisions with moose (a relatively common occurrence in New Brunswick, with around 250 to 300 moose-vehicle accidents occurring each year). Graham's Liberals introduced the issue early on in the election campaign, promising to spend approximately $21 million to fence 300 km of highway in the province.

• Although the 29 votes were enough to win a majority government for Graham's Liberals in the election on Sept. 18, 2006, the popular vote was an almost even split between the Liberals and PCs, with the PCs actually coming out on top. The Liberals got 47.2 per cent of the popular vote, while the PCs won 47.5 per cent. The NDP received 5.1 per cent of the popular vote, but won no seats in legislature.

• In losing this election, Bernard Lord became the first New Brunswick premier to not win a third term since Hugh John Flemming lost to Louis Robichaud in 1960.

• On Jan. 31, 2007, Lord officially stepped down as PC leader for New Brunswick. He also resigned from his post as an MLA.



N.B. Elections: Colourful Characters, Pivotal Points more