The House

The path to votes in New Brunswick

This special edition of The House from New Brunswick tackles the economy, cost of living, immigration and Indigenous reconciliation.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (right) joins candidate Daniel Thériault (centre) and former Acadie-Bathurst NDP MP Yvon Godin (left) at a campaign event in Bathurst Monday. (Radio-Canada)
Listen to the full episode46:04

Parties jostle to change the colour of New Brunswick's electoral map

Vote-rich urban areas such as Ontario's 416/905 region and British Columbia's Lower Mainland tend to dominate campaign coverage, but there is a battle brewing on Canada's East Coast.

The first sign of which party has the best chance of forming the next government on Oct. 21 will come from Atlantic Canada, where a surging red tide in 2015 saw Justin Trudeau's Liberals win all 32 seats, including the 10 in New Brunswick.

Conservative candidate Rob Moore said he believes his party is poised to make gains next month.

"The Liberals are not going to win all 32 seats this time, let's put it that way," said Moore, who is running in the New Brunswick riding of Fundy Royal.

As one of three Harper-era MPs who are trying to win back seats lost in 2015 in neighbouring ridings across the southern part of the province, Moore says the path to power in Atlantic Canada is all about the economy.

But Moore's Conservatives aren't the only party hoping to change the colour of New Brunswick's electoral map this year.

Jenica Atwin, the Green candidate in Fredericton, said she hopes to be part of a Green caucus in Ottawa that will hold the balance of power in a minority government.

"The Greens aren't going to form government Oct. 21," she said. "We are hoping to hold enough seats that we can make a difference and hold whichever government is in power accountable on these key issues."

But Atwin's got her work cut out for her in Fredericton, where Liberal incumbent Matt DeCourcey won almost half the vote in 2015.

"I think people understand just how important the choice is this time," he said from his campaign office in downtown Fredericton.

DeCourcey says the Liberal campaign platform is a "practical plan" to support the middle class, seniors and post-secondary students — a key demographic in a city with two universities.

Differing views on reconciliation

The Liberal government's record on reconciliation is a matter of debate among Indigenous people in New Brunswick.

Jeremy Dutcher, a musician and composer from the Tobique First Nation in the northwest part of the province, says Canada could have been a different country had it fostered a positive relationship with Indigenous people from the very beginning.

"For me, singing songs like this is a call for that relationship to be had. And I think there's been a lot of talk about that in the last couple years, but I think we have yet to see substantive change," he told our CBC Ottawa colleagues this week before a performance at the National Arts Centre.

But Cecelia Brooks sees the relationship in a more positive light.

"I see people are much more open now. I think that when people don't know something about a subject, whatever it might be, nobody wants to be the first one to say, 'Hey, I don't know anything.' And so now that the can's been open, everybody's rushing forward saying,'I want to learn more,'" she told The House.

"I know that when change comes to any society, it happens at the grassroots level. That's where it begins."

Climate change a motivating issue for young voters

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians on Friday took to the streets to rally for action on climate change, including Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who joined a march in Montreal after meeting earlier in the day with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Thunberg, 16, is considered the original climate striker after she began last year to hold weekly protests to demand more action from her government on climate change.

Her movement has inspired young people all across Canada, including Daniel Nunes, a fourth-year environmental management student at the University of New Brunswick.

He has helped organize three climate strikes in Fredericton and he has a message for politicians everywhere.

"I think you need to be concrete in your answers. I think the time for platitudes and very general sweeping statements about what you're going to do about climate change is over. I think we've reached a point where you have to have a plan," he told The House.