New Brunswick

Bernard Lord's possible federal candidacy excites local Tories

Former New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord’s name as a potential replacement for Stephen Harper as the federal Conservative leader is exciting Tories in the province after a demoralizing loss in Monday’s election.

Ex-cabinet ministers Jason Kenny, Lisa Raitt, Kellie Leitch, Maxime Bernier have also been rumoured

Bernard Lord, the former New Brunswick premier and current chairman of Ontario Power Generation, is being rumoured as a potential successor to Stephen Harper as federal Conservative leader. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Former New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord's name as a potential replacement for Stephen Harper as the federal Conservative leader is exciting Tories in the province after a demoralizing loss in Monday's election.

Harper's Conservatives lost to Justin Trudeau's Liberals on Monday night and saw their seat total fall to 99, which did not include a single seat in Atlantic Canada.

After the election loss, Harper signaled that he was stepping aside and that allowed jockeying to begin for a successor.

Tory supporter Ian Fanjoy in Fundy Royal called CBC's Maritime Noon on Tuesday to suggest Lord replace Harper.

"He's a lawyer, he's fluently bilingual, and I think the next leader of the federal Conservative party's going to have to come from eastern Canada," he said.

Lord was premier of New Brunswick from 1999 to 2006, when he lost to Shawn Graham's Liberals.

He has been working as the president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association for several years.

He also serves on various boards, including his role as the chair of the board for Ontario Power Generation.

Lord's name has been bandied about as a national leader before.

New Brunswick's interim Progressive Conservative Leader Bruce Fitch said he believes Lord would make a solid federal leader, if he opted to run for the position. (CBC)
He was approached to replace Joe Clark as leader of the Progressive Conservatives, a race that was ultimately won by Peter MacKay.

And then some federal Tories again tried to convince Lord to enter the leadership race when the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives merged. But the New Brunswick premier turned his back on that race, too, and Harper eventually won.

Lord remains popular with his party in New Brunswick.

Interim Progressive Conservative Leader Bruce Fitch, who served as a cabinet minister in the Lord government from 2003 to 2006, said he believes Lord would be an ideal candidate.

He said Lord has shown he can appeal to different types of voters, which was demonstrated by his ability to win seats in urban and rural areas, as well as anglophone and francophone areas of New Brunswick.

"I'd vote for him," Fitch said.

"Whether or not that would be on his plate, he'd have to answer that one."

Lord didn't respond to emails from CBC News on Tuesday.

The two-term New Brunswick premier is joining a growing list of high-profile Conservatives, who may be interested in replacing Harper, including former cabinet ministers Jason Kenney, Kellie Leitch, Lisa Raitt, Maxime Bernier and former Quebec premier Jean Charest.