People's Alliance forms new N.B. political party
New Brunswick's election ballot will be a bit more crowded on Sept. 27 now that the People's Alliance of New Brunswick has become the province's fifth registered party.
Kris Austin, the alliance's freshly-minted leader, dropped off the party's paperwork at the Elections New Brunswick office in Fredericton on Wednesday.
Austin said that the party has more than 10 riding associations and they are recruiting candidates in all 55 ridings.
"There is unquestionably going to be some challenges that we are going to face. But we have faced the toughest challenges leading up to this," Austin said.
"We've made overwhelming, incredible progress in the last three months to go from a concept to official party status."
Mike Quinn, the province's chief electoral officer, said the People's Alliance of New Brunswick's paperwork was in order and as long as they run 10 candidates in the Sept. 27 election the party's name will be on the ballot.
"It's not often that a new party is formed but they have now formed they are part of the system and they are in the registry," Quinn said.
The Green Party will also be on the 2010 election ballot.
Before the Greens and the PANB, the Grey Party of New Brunswick was the last upstart party to form in the province. It ran 10 candidates in the 2003 election, garnering 1,550 votes across the province.
The Confederation of Regions Party burst onto the New Brunswick political scene winning eight seats in 1991 and then was shut out in the 1995 election.
Voters are 'fed up'
Austin said voter frustration drove the party's creation. The party was hatched after the Liberal government's botched plan to sell parts of NB Power to Hydro-Québec.
One of the main promises of the new party is committing to free votes for all MLAs.
A Corporate Research Associates poll released on Wednesday said that 45 per cent of New Brunswick voters polled cannot identify any party or picked none of the parties when asked who offers the best vision for the province.
The Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives were each chosen by 22 per cent as the party with the best vision for New Brunswick, followed by the NDP with eight per cent, and the Greens with three per cent.
Austin said there is a growing frustration among voters with the traditional parties.
"Things are coming to a climax that the people of the province are fed up with the political system, they are fed up with the current government and they don't see any option in any of the other parties," Austin said.
Austin said the new party will hold a policy convention in July and then release a full platform.