Brian Gallant urged to ask for Liberal leadership review to 'clear air'
Another prominent party member calls for review after Liberals lose confidence of legislature
Another prominent New Brunswick Liberal is calling for a review of Brian Gallant's leadership of the provincial party.
"If he decides that he wants to stay, if I were him, I would insist on a leadership review," said Bernard Richard, longtime party insider, former MLA and cabinet minister and New Brunswick's former ombudsman and child and youth advocate.
Richard returned to New Brunswick in late August after working for a little over a year as British Columbia's representative for children and youth.
Even members of his caucus have told me that they, in the last campaign, had difficulty campaigning in some parts of the province while mentioning Mr. Gallant by name.- Bernard Richard, former MLA and ombudsman
But he said during an interview on Information Morning Fredericton on Monday that he kept in touch with friends in New Brunswick while he was away.
Richard said there have been questions for two or three years now about some of Gallant's decisions.
"The fact that he has isolated himself ," Richard said. "He talked about that ... and that was the case. He was consulting less and less — more isolated advice by a very limited number of advisers and insiders."
"Even members of his caucus have told me that they, in the last campaign, had difficulty campaigning in some parts of the province while mentioning Mr. Gallant by name."
Richard said he wouldn't speculate on whether Gallant would survive a leadership review and noted the Liberal defeat in the legislature was "by the narrowest margin possible," but he still feels it's a necessary process.
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"He has to clear the air on the trust he has from party membership," Richard said.
Richard's comments echo those made by current MLA and former cabinet minister Roly MacIntyre last week.
MacIntyre said the party's poor showing in southern New Brunswick requires a look at whether Gallant should remain at the helm.
MLAs pledged their loyalty
He said so despite a pledge of loyalty to Gallant made by all 20 Liberal MLAs.
Gallant admitted on Friday that he had made some mistakes.
"I blame myself for some of it, and I regret some things that I think now I could have done better," he said.
He apologized for not doing more as premier to unite the province, specifically by promoting bilingualism and addressing concerns about it, and reiterated his commitment to protecting minority rights.
"As long as I'm leader, our party is always going to stand up for the rights of all New Brunswickers, including linguistic rights," he said in French.
Lots of reasons to stay on
Gallant said he would take some time to consider his future and what's best for the party and asked for patience.
"I can tell you I'll be a part of moving this province forward in some shape or form, and it may very well be as the leader of the Opposition."
"There's lots of reasons as to why one could say that I should decide to stay.
"But certainly I just want to make sure that we take some time and honestly rest up a little bit so I have a bit of a clearer head making these very important decisions."
Liberal Party rules say the party's board of directors must decide within three months of an election in which the party "has not formed a government" whether to schedule a leadership review.