New Brunswick

N.B. Tories win majority government

The Progressive Conservatives have defeated the ruling Liberals and will form a majority government in New Brunswick.
Unofficial popular support percentages as of 11 p.m. AT.

The Progressive Conservatives have defeated the ruling Liberals and will form a majority government in New Brunswick.

The Tories took about 49 per cent of the popular support, the Liberals had 34.5 per cent and the NDP had about nine per cent.

Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward was elected in his Woodstock riding.

"Over the last two years, we've demonstrated to New Brunswickers that we wanted to put New Brunswickers first for a change and they respect that," Alward said as he got off his campaign bus.

"I'm humbled to be their premier."

David Alward

David Alward was elected in Woodstock, a rural riding in western New Brunswick considered a Tory stronghold. He has held the seat since 1998.

Alward has become the first opposition leader to knock off a first-term New Brunswick premier. Focusing on leadership in the campaign, he tried to differentiate himself from Liberal Leader Shawn Graham.

The Tories vowed to halt the planned tax cuts on corporations and New Brunswickers earning more than $118,000. They also promised to create a government office to find areas to cut and reduce the public service with buyout packages.

Alward called himself a "consulter" and promised more public involvement in important government decisions.

Alward, a former human resources consultant, became PC leader in 2008, promising a new style of inclusive, less combative politics.

Under his leadership, the Tories took part in the Department of Social Development's poverty reduction working group process. Alward also tried to solicit questions directly from New Brunswickers for the daily question period, but that lasted one day because the Speaker ruled it out of order.

Alward served as minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Bernard Lord government. He managed to avoid any big missteps as minister, but he ran into trouble in his riding over Lord's placement of a new $85-million hospital.

Instead of replacing the Woodstock Hospital, Lord put the new facility Waterville, on the border between Alward's riding and that of Dale Graham, the deputy premier at the time. Woodstock residents were furious, but Alward endorsed the move.

Alward called it the "most difficult" issue he faced as MLA.

Alward told his hometown crowd that he had already spoken with Liberal Leader Shawn Graham and they agreed to put in place an orderly transition of government.

With his voice straining, the Tory leader kept his promise to include citizens in the decision-making process.

"You have put your faith in me and the excellent team of Progressive Conservatives candidates in all regions of the province. I can assure you tonight I will not let you down," Alward said.

"My commitment tonight is that I will consult you and I will consider you in all that we will do. I will govern with integrity and common sense."

Although his Liberals lost provincewide, Graham was re-elected in his riding of Kent, which he has held since a 1998 byelection.

Graham told a crowd of supporters in Rexton that he does not anticipate that he will stay on as leader of the Liberals.

"I do wish Mr. Alward well. He has a difficult job ahead of him. I have lived and breathed that job for the last four years," Graham said.

Graham took full responsibility for the stunning electoral defeat.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Alward on Monday night after the Tory government was projected.

"The people of New Brunswick have chosen the Progressive Conservative Party, led by David Alward, to form their provincial government. I congratulate Mr. Alward on his victory and I am confident that we will work closely together on many fronts for the well-being of New Brunswickers and all Canadians," Harper said in a statement released by his office.

Harper's statement also reached out to the defeated Liberal leader.

"On behalf of all Canadians, I thank Shawn Graham for his accomplishments for the people of New Brunswick in the past four years, and for helping to build a stronger Canada," Harper's statement said.

Tory gains

The Tories have also triumphed over a series of Liberal cabinet ministers.

Saint John and its suburban ridings voted heavily Liberal in 2006 but they reverted back to the Tories in 2010.

Liberal Jack Keir, the province's energy minister, has been defeated by PC Dr. Jim Parrott, a former heart surgeon, in the riding of Fundy-River Valley.

Keir was the public face of the botched NB Power deal with Hydro-Québec. He was running in a seat that has traditionally been a Tory riding. He won the seat narrowly in 2006.

Liberal Mary Schryer, the province's health minister, lost in her riding of Quispamsis.

As well, Roy Boudreau, who was the legislature's Speaker, has been defeated in Campbellton-Restigouche Centre by Tory Greg Davis.

The Liberals were able to pick up one seat from the Tories.

Roger Melanson won the riding of Dieppe Centre-Lewisville, a riding that had voted for the Tories in each of the last three elections. The incumbent decided not to reoffer in this campaign.

The Liberals were able to cling to several of their traditional strongholds.

Liberal Victor Boudreau is re-elected in the southeastern riding of Shediac-Cap-Pelé.

Donald Arseneault has also been re-elected in his northern riding of Dalhousie-Restigouche East. Arseneault had been deputy premier and a senior cabinet member in the Graham government.

The Liberals have also kept a firm grip on several northern ridings, including seats held by cabinet ministers in Nigadoo-Chaleur, Caraquet and Centre-Peninsule-Saint-Sauveur.

Brian Kenny clung onto the northern riding of Bathurst for the third straight election against Tory Nancy McKay.

With all of the polls reporting, Kenny defeated McKay by 75 votes. He beat McKay by 187 votes in 2006 and 94 votes in 2003.

Other parties shut out

NDP Leader Roger Duguay accepts defeat in Monday's election. Duguay attempted to win the northeastern riding of Tracadie-Sheila.
Although New Brunswick voters could have cast ballots for candidates representing five parties, only the Tories and Liberals elected members.

NDP Leader Roger Duguay failed in his attempt to win the northeastern riding of Tracadie-Sheila. Duguay came in second behind PC Claude Landry.

Green Leader Jack MacDougall came in a distant third in Fredericton-Nashwaaksis.

And People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin finished a close third in his central New Brunswick riding of Grand Lake-Gagetown.

He pulled 19 per cent of the vote compared to 45 per cent for PC Ross Wetmore and 29 per cent for Liberal Barry Armstrong.

The three other parties combined to pull roughly 15 per cent of the vote.

The NDP is projected to finish with 10 per cent of the vote up from five per cent in 2006.

The Green Party garnered 4.5 per cent of the vote in its first provincial campaign.

And only a few months after becoming an official party, the People's Alliance won one per cent of the vote.