Progressive Conservative MLAs ready to get to work
PC Leader Blaine Higgs to meet with lieutenant-governor on Thursday
Progressive Conservative candidates who won Monday's election are waiting for an update from party leader Blaine Higgs after he meets Thursday morning with the lieutenant-governor.
But some say it's not stopping them from doing their job.
"I'm good to go," Dorothy Shephard said Wednesday at her constituency office in the riding of Saint John-Lancaster.
"It will be another day or two before I'm proclaimed by Elections NB but I've been notified by the legislature that we can begin working as soon as possible."
Higgs did not agree to be interviewed Wednesday.
Elected for the third time, Shephard got 3,001 votes, according to unofficial results posted on the Elections New Brunswick website.
Her nearest competitor, Liberal candidate Kathleen Riley-Karamanos, got 1,727 votes.
"I won by a healthy margin," Shephard said. "It won't be contested."
In the riding of Saint Croix, winning PC candidate Greg Thompson said he's fielding calls from frustrated voters.
"They're puzzled by the whole thing," he said.
Thompson also confirmed Wednesday that he had been contacted by former Liberal MLA Jack Keir.
"Jack called me yesterday morning around 10 o'clock and asked me whether I'd be interested in being Speaker," said Thompson.
"My answer was no, of course."
It may have been tempting. The Speaker's job comes with extra money, similar to a cabinet minister.
In addition to his MLA's annual salary of $84,674, former Speaker Chris Collins earned $52,415 for ministerial and other duties.
That's according to the government's unaudited supplementary employee lists from 2017.
It also lists $31,914 for his Speaker expenses and allowance and $6,574 for a car allowance.
Thompson said he doesn't think any of his fellow caucus members would accept.
"I think they're smart enough to say no," he said.
Experience with minority government
As a former member of Parliament, Thompson sat through two of the longest-lasting minority governments in Canadian history under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
He said the Conservatives didn't make any formal deals with other parties but instead went bill by bill, with "good legislation" that others could support.
He thinks the Progressive Conservatives, under Blaine Higgs, could do the same.
"Nobody wants an election," Thompson said. "They're expensive."
"I know the Liberals have enough money in the bank, if you will, to run another election. I think the other parties wouldn't be as well-heeled.
"That will be the glue that holds the whole thing together, if we're given a chance."