New Brunswick

Brian Gallant to visit lieutenant-governor Monday

Premier Brian Gallant's office has put out word he will pay a visit to lieutenant-governor Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau on Monday.

Premier's spokesperson is coy about purpose, refers to throne speech Tuesday

Details about why Premier Brian Gallant will meet with Lieutenant-Governor Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau on Monday are vague. (CBC)

Premier Brian Gallant's office has put out word he will pay a visit to Lieutenant-Governor Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau on Monday.

A media advisory says Gallant will meet her at Government House then speak to reporters at 11:30 a.m.

That's normally the ritual a premier follows when he is calling an election, though Gallant spokesperson Tina Robichaud was coy in an email to CBC News.

She said the meeting is "to discuss how the provincial government has moved New Brunswick forward and the upcoming speech from the throne," which is scheduled for Tuesday when the legislature is set to begin a new session.

Mandate 'accomplished'

Robichaud's statement goes on to list a number of Liberal initiatives the party promised in 2014 and says the government has "accomplished that mandate."

It says Gallant "will have more to say on Monday about our future plans to advance the priorities of New Brunswickers."

The mention of the throne speech suggests Gallant won't call an election Monday. An election call dissolves the legislature, which would mean no throne speech.

New Brunswick has a fixed-date election law, which has set the date for the next election on Sept. 24, 2018. But the law is not binding.

Many Progressive Conservatives have been speculating that Gallant would call an early election this fall. The Liberals have already nominated 17 of their 49 candidates for the vote.

Other possibilities

But there are a few other conventional explanations for why Gallant would visit the lieutenant-governor and issue an advisory in advance.

It's possible he will officially ask her to prorogue the 2016-17 session of the legislature so the new one can begin, though prorogation happens every fall the same day as the throne speech, without a set-piece involving a request from the premier.

Another potential explanation is that at least one of the four Liberal MLAs who have announced they're not running in the next election has decided to resign early, requiring a byelection call.

But there's usually no media event organized for that, either.

Blaine Higgs, the Opposition Progressive Conservative leader, said his party would spend the weekend preparing, just in case.

"We will see on Monday what this is about, but we must proceed over the weekend as if it is to call an election," he said in a statement.


Jacques Poitras

Provincial Affairs reporter

Jacques Poitras has been CBC's provincial affairs reporter in New Brunswick since 2000. He grew up in Moncton and covered Parliament in Ottawa for the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. He has reported on every New Brunswick election since 1995 and won awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association, the National Newspaper Awards and Amnesty International. He is also the author of five non-fiction books about New Brunswick politics and history.