Greens predict 'tough negotiations' with Liberals, PCs over governing partnership
Brian Gallant announced the Liberals will approach the Green Party in hopes of forming a partnership
Green Party Leader David Coon is predicting "tough negotiations" between his party and the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives as the political leaders continue to grapple with the province's minority government situation.
"We have an unprecedented situation with the results of this election," said Coon.
"Our caucus's goal is to deliver to New Brunswickers a stable government and serve the public interest and tackle the challenges we've got in front of us."
The two major parties fell short of the required 25 seats for a majority — the PCs won 22 and the Liberals 21, pending recounts. The remaining six seats in the legislature were evenly split between the Greens and the People's Alliance.
New Brunswick has not had a minority government since 1920.
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Coon has arranged to have individual phone conversations on Thursday with both Higgs and Gallant to "look at what kind of government might be built in the legislative assembly.
"I'm humbled by the fact the people of this province have voted to give us the balance of responsibility to help build a stable government in the legislature."
Coon said his goal right now is to be part of a collaboration that will last. He hopes both parties will recognize they didn't receive a majority of support and can't govern that way.
"If we're going to get a throne speech passed, if we're going to get a budget passed, then we've got to have some kind of agreement in the legislative assembly that enables a minority government to function," he said.
Coon didn't say what that agreement might look like.
"It's going to be tough negotiations over the next couple of weeks," he said in an interview with Information Morning Fredericton.
But Coon did make it clear he will not make a decision until October, after the final results are confirmed.
"What we need here is an agreement to enable the legislature to function and a government to serve the people of this province."
Later on Thursday, Higgs rejected striking any deals with other parties or forming a coalition but he wasn't clear about how his party, with only 22 seats, might govern. He said he expected to be able to work with the other parties on areas where there is agreement.
On Wednesday, Gallant announced the party will approach the Green Party with the hope of forming a partnership based on shared "progressive policies."
What shape that partnership would take would have to be discussed, Gallant said. It was the first public chess move by a party in the two days since Monday's election that left both the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives claiming the right to govern.
Catching up on Monday's dramatic election results? This video will give you the highlights
Gallant said during the campaign that he would not work with the PCs or the People's Alliance because they don't share Liberal "values."
He said Wednesday that voters sent a clear message they wanted the government to work with "other parties," but he suggested that the Greens are the more natural pairing for the Liberals.
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With files from Information Morning Fredericton and Colin McPhail