Que réserve l’avenir de Brian Gallant, ce jeune ex-premier ministre?

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Brian Gallant a toujours eu un plan en tête. Mais aujourd’hui, à 36 ans, l’avenir du plus jeune ex-premier ministre du Nouveau-Brunswick constitue une vaste inconnue.

« Toute ma vie, j’ai su ce que je voulais faire », déclarait M. Gallant vendredi à La Presse canadienne dans une entrevue accordée après l’annonce surprise de sa démission anticipée de ses fonctions de chef du Parti libéral du Nouveau-Brunswick. « Maintenant, je ne sais vraiment pas ce que je vais faire : la toile est complètement blanche. »

Le député de Baie-de-Shédiac — Dieppe a indiqué sans équivoque que son passage en politique provinciale touchait à sa fin — il ne sera pas du prochain scrutin —, mais il n’a pas complètement exclu la scène fédérale. Il promet simplement de « continuer à contribuer à la province et au pays […] que ce soit par mon travail ou par du bénévolat ».

Avec 10 « fantastiques » députés libéraux fédéraux (sur 10 comtés), M. Gallant estime qu’une nouvelle candidature ne semble pas nécessaire avant les élections d’octobre. « J’ai bien hâte de les soutenir autant que je le pourrai et de soutenir les libéraux fédéraux dans ce qui, selon moi, sera une campagne électorale réussie », a déclaré M. Gallant, ajoutant qu’il fera de même pour les libéraux provinciaux lors du prochain scrutin — qui pourrait être déclenché plus tôt que l’on croit.

L’Assemblée législative tient actuellement par un accord informel d’une durée de 18 mois entre les progressistes-conservateurs et l’Alliance des gens du Nouveau-Brunswick, un petit parti de droite, opposé au bilinguisme, qui a accepté de soutenir le gouvernement minoritaire conservateur après les résultats électoraux très serrés du 24 septembre. L’accord a permis aux conservateurs — qui ont remporté 22 sièges, un de plus que les libéraux — de compter sur trois sièges supplémentaires pour obtenir une mince majorité d’un seul député en Chambre.

« Nous sommes dans une situation différente de celle que le Nouveau-Brunswick a connue depuis cent ans », a souligné M. Gallant. « Les partis politiques — en particulier les deux soi-disant » partis traditionnels « — étaient plutôt habitués jusqu’ici à des cycles de quatre ans. »

Pas de temps à perdre

Mais M. Gallant estime que devant un tel gouvernement minoritaire, le Parti libéral ne peut se permettre de passer un an ou plus à se reconstruire et à organiser un congrès à la direction. Face à la possibilité d’une élection anticipée imminente avec chaque vote de confiance en Chambre, M. Gallant croit que le Parti libéral devra se choisir un chef rapidement.

Le président du caucus libéral, Jean-Claude D’Amours, a déclaré qu’il travaillait avec ses collègues pour préparer les prochaines étapes en vue du choix d’un chef intérimaire d’ici la mi-février — la réunion du caucus d’hiver — et qu’il a également suggéré des dates pour le congrès à la direction.

M. Gallant s’est bien gardé de suggérer des noms pour celui ou celle qui devra le remplacer. Il a par ailleurs exprimé sa préoccupation face aux mouvements populistes de droite qui se manifestent un peu partout en Occident ces temps-ci. « Il est inquiétant de voir toutes ces divisions qui se créent […] ces mouvements populistes qui ont pris de l’ampleur dans les pays occidentaux », a-t-il dit.

Bien que M. Gallant ait déclaré que ces mouvements partent souvent de préoccupations légitimes — telles que l’inégalité croissante des revenus —, ils peuvent être exploités par des politiciens « qui ne respectent pas nécessairement les faits et qui sont plus intéressés à profiter des préoccupations citoyennes ».

Selon M. Gallant, le dernier scrutin au Nouveau-Brunswick démontre que le Canada n’est pas à l’abri de tels mouvements populistes. Mais il ne croit pas que cette tendance se répétera lors des élections fédérales. « Je pense que le premier ministre Justin Trudeau et le gouvernement fédéral ont fait du bon travail en essayant de répondre à plusieurs des préoccupations qui sont au coeur de ces mouvements », a-t-il estimé.

M. Gallant a déclaré que même s’il a l’intention pour le moment de demeurer député de sa circonscription natale, il pourrait éventuellement revenir à la pratique du droit ou oeuvrer dans le monde des affaires.

« Lorsque je prends du recul et que je mets les choses en perspective, je réalise que j’ai eu l’occasion d’être le premier ministre de notre province, de prendre des décisions qui ont un impact réel et qui peuvent faire la différence ». Et bien que quitter le poste de chef du parti constitue « un jour sombre pour lui », il s’estime « incroyablement chanceux ».

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Brian Gallant quitte son poste de chef libéral du Nouveau-Brunswick

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Photo: James West La Presse canadienne

L’ancien premier ministre du Nouveau-Brunswick Brian Gallant a annoncé vendredi qu’il quittera son poste de chef du Parti libéral de la province lors du prochain caucus du parti. Il a ajouté qu’il demeurerait député de Baie-de-Shédiac-Dieppe, mais qu’il ne se représenterait pas aux prochaines élections. Le scrutin pourrait être déclenché dans un avenir rapproché. M. Gallant espère que son départ incitera les libéraux à se choisir un chef « dans un délai approprié pour le parti », étant donné l’échéance possiblement rapprochée des prochaines élections.

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Brian Gallant moves up departure from helm of Liberal Party

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Former premier Brian Gallant says he’ll step down as leader of the Liberal Party earlier than planned.

Gallant said Friday that he will resign at the party’s next caucus meeting, which is scheduled for mid-February, rather than wait until a leadership convention can choose his successor.

« It has become clear that while I still occupy the role of leader, many will be hopeful — and some will be fearful — that I might run again in the next election, » Gallant told a news conference in Moncton.

« Let me be clear I am not running again in the next election as leader of the Liberal Party or to be the MLA for Shediac Bay-Dieppe. »

Gallant wasn’t pressured, MLA says

Discussions are underway on whether the next caucus meeting should be held sooner than mid-February, said caucus chair Jean-Claude D’Amours.

Gallant made the decision to quit on his own and not under pressure, D’Amours said.

« I really respect his decision to decide to not be the leader of the Liberal Party, » he said.  

An interim leader will be chosen at the next caucus meeting as well, but D’Amours hopes party members can elect a new leader as soon as possible. A steering committee of the party will choose a date for the leadership convention, which is to be held in Saint John, he said.

Resignation already announced

Gallant, who tried to form a minority government after the Sept. 24 election, had already announced his intention to resign when his government was defeated in the legislature and the Progressive Conservatives took over.

At the time, Gallant said he would stay on as leader until the party found his successor, which it hasn’t done. On Friday, he suggested that by leaving earlier, he would be nudging the party into getting a new leader more quickly. 

« My hope is that by doing this the Liberal Party will recognize that it indeed needs to choose a new leader and in a time frame that makes sense for the party, » Gallant said.

He also suggested there is some urgency because Premier Blaine Higgs, who has the support of three People’s Alliance members, is governing « like he has a majority. »

« He has given the People’s Alliance all the cards and therefore control of the government’s agenda. »

Former premier says he’ll step down at next caucus meeting 1:10

As a result, Gallant said, the PC government might fall over its first budget, which is to be presented after the legislature reconvenes on March 19.

Gallant said he will stay on as MLA for Shediac Bay-Dieppe for now but wouldn’t say if he would stay until the next election.

He said he will stay neutral on who should be the next Liberal leader.

He became Liberal leader in 2012 and won a majority government two years later, defeating David Alward’s Progressive Conservatives.

Gallant said he has no interest in running at any other level of government. 

At the news conference Friday, Gallant thanked New Brunswickers for the opportunity to serve the province. He said he and his wife will continue to contribute to the betterment of the province, but in other ways.

He has « no plans at the moment. »

Later Friday, Higgs wished Gallant « the very best » in his future endeavours.

He said he didn’t know what to make of Gallant’s allegation he was running the province as if he had a majority. 

Gallant said he will resign at the party’s next caucus meeting scheduled for mid-February. (Shane Magee/CBC)

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Brian Mulroney to deliver eulogy at funeral for George H.W. Bush – National

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Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney will deliver a eulogy at the funeral for former U.S. president George H.W. Bush.

READ MORE: George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, dies at 94

A source close to Mulroney said he will be one of three people to deliver a eulogy for the 41st president of the U.S.A., who died on Friday at the age of 94.

WATCH: Trudeau offers condolences for ‘friend of Canada’ George H.W. Bush







Earlier, Mulroney, whose nine years in power overlapped with Bush’s four, said in a written statement that he and his wife share in the Bush family’s grief.

“President Bush had become one of those statesmen about whom history’s judgement rises every year. It was my privilege to have worked with him on an array of world-changing policy achievements,” Mulroney said, listing German re-unification and NAFTA as examples.

— With files from Mercedes Stephenson and the Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Brian Gallant’s minority government could be toppled today

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The defeat of the Gallant government now seems inevitable, but there is still a formal process that has to unfold before it’s really over.

Here’s what is expected to happen Friday.

Gallant’s speech

At 9 a.m. Premier Brian Gallant will give a speech in the legislature to close the debate on the throne speech delivered by Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau on Oct. 23.

The three MLAs from the People’s Alliance have said they plan to vote against the Liberal government’s throne speech at the New Brunswick Legislature on Friday. (CBC)

The debate over the last two weeks has been on a motion introduced by the Liberals to have the legislature endorse a reply to the lieutenant-governor.

If passed, it would essentially tell her that MLAs agree with the throne speech and want the government to implement it.

After Gallant’s speech — likely his last to the legislature as premier — MLAs vote on the motion.

Up until that point, this is routine. It generally happens on the second Friday after every throne speech and, generally, the motion passes.

Not a routine session

But this session is not routine.

Gallant’s Liberals won only 21 seats in September’s election, four short of the majority they need to pass the motion. So they’ve spent the weeks since the election trying to find a way to get the math to work in their favour.

Thursday, they ran out of options.

The three Green MLAs said they would vote for the Liberal motion, but the three People’s Alliance MLAs said they would vote against.

Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau delivered the throne speech on Oct. 23 at the New Brunswick legislative building. (CBC)

Combined with 22 Progressive Conservative votes, the PC-Alliance total of 25 is enough to defeat the motion.

3 votes

But it will take three votes to actually get there.

On Oct. 25, PC Leader Blaine Higgs moved an amendment to the Liberal motion. The Higgs amendment says the legislature has no confidence in the government.

That’s the standard mechanism to defeat a government in a throne speech debate: it was used in British Columbia last year by the NDP, supported by the Greens, to oust Christy Clark’s Liberal government.

On Tuesday, however, the Liberals introduced a sub-amendment to change Higgs’s amendment, deleting its no-confidence phrasing and replacing it with a long list of new Liberal promises aimed at enticing other parties to support it.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant appears to be one vote short of the tally required to pass the Liberal throne speech. (Michel Corriveau/Radio-Canada)

So this is how the votes will be ordered today:

First, MLAs will vote on the Liberal sub-amendment and it appears likely they’ll defeat it.

Second, they’ll vote on the Higgs amendment. Based on the Alliance announcement on Thursday, it will pass — and the main Liberal motion will be amended to express no confidence in the government.

Third, they’ll vote on the amended motion. When that motion passes, the government will officially have been defeated.

A visit (or 2) to Government House

Once that has happened, the focus shifts from the legislature to Government House, the residence of the lieutenant-governor.

Gallant will go there to officially tell her the government has lost the confidence of the house.

The premier could ask Roy Vienneau to call a new election. That’s what Clark did in British Columbia last year when she visited her lieutenant-governor after losing a throne speech vote.

No new election

Gallant already knows the answer he’d get: On Oct. 17, Roy Vienneau’s principal secretary, Tim Richardson, said that she had told all party leaders that « another provincial election is not in the best interest of New Brunswickers. »

Gallant also said on Thursday that seeking another election would go against the message voters delivered on Sept. 24.

« If we were to rebuke that as 49 MLAs, I think New Brunswickers would be very disappointed, » he said. « So we would resign. »

Higgs wants fast transition

Once Gallant resigns, the lieutenant-governor will ask Higgs to come to Government House. Higgs said on Thursday he expects that he’d meet her in mid-afternoon.

She will ask him if he can form a government, and he’ll undoubtedly say yes.

Progressive Conservative Leader Blaine Higgs will be looking for a fast transition if the Gallant government is defeated Friday. (CBC)

At that point it’s left to Higgs and Gallant to meet and agree on a date for a transition — the day a PC cabinet would be sworn into office.

Higgs said last month he would want to reduce the normal two-week transition period to about a week. « Our goal would be to minimize that timeline, » he said.

Gallant said Thursday he would not try to slow that down.

« I would do everything I could to help with the smooth transition for the Higgs government, if that’s what happens, » he said.


Read more on New Brunswick’s political situation

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Alberta NDP MLA Brian Mason warns of tough spring election ahead

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Alberta NDP Government House Leader Brian Mason, in his farewell address to the party he once led, urged members to prepare for a spring vote fight that will be both daunting and bruising.

“We have a wonderful legacy and we want to add to that legacy, but it is under threat,” Mason told delegates Saturday at the party’s annual convention, held at a downtown Edmonton hotel convention centre.

“And there’s no question about it – this is going to be a tough election.”


READ MORE:
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Premier Rachel Notley is expected to call an election early next year. Opposition Leader Jason Kenney‘s United Conservatives have been strong in opinion polls, running on a platform to roll back a number of initiatives launched by Notley, including the carbon tax.

Mason – with former Alberta NDP leaders Ray Martin and Raj Pannu, and Notley beside him – lauded the current government’s policies, including workplace protections, building infrastructure, economic diversification, recognizing minority rights and its climate change policy.

He said the opposite will take place under a Kenney government.

“He (Kenney) wants cuts, he wants privatization, he wants to move fast so that the opposition doesn’t have a chance to get organized, and he won’t blink,” said Mason.

“Have we seen this movie before? Well, it’s a horror movie and we don’t want to see it again. The movie is called ‘Ralph Klein: The Sequel,’” Mason said, referencing the steep budget cuts imposed by Klein when he took the reins as premier in the early 1990s.


READ MORE:
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Mason also criticized Kenney for what he called his “flirtation with extremist groups,” such as the anti-immigration Soldiers of Odin, climate-change deniers and anti-abortion activists.

“There is an element to the UCP that is very disturbing and very frightening, and something that Jason Kenney has refused to disavow,” said Mason.

“We have so much at stake, really we do.”


READ MORE:
UCP nomination candidate turfed in pub night controversy: ‘Polite racist is still racist’

Some candidates running for UCP nominations in recent months have been disqualified or allowed to run despite previous intolerant comments about groups such as Muslims or members of the LGBTQ community.

Kenney has made it clear his party will not countenance hateful views, and has said if elected his caucus will pursue a spending freeze or modest cuts in order to get the current multibillion-dollar budget deficits back to balance.


READ MORE:
How do Alberta’s political parties vet their candidates?

Mason will not run in the election, ending three decades in public life, first as an Edmonton city councillor and then moving to provincial politics in 2000. He is the longest serving current member in the house.

About 1,200 NDP members are attending the convention to debate and pass resolutions and literally pass the hat – or in this case a bucket – for donations.

Delegates passed a number of constitutional changes and policy resolutions, including support for a national pharmacare plan and extending medicare to dental and optic care.

Notley, along with Finance Minister Joe Ceci, spoke to delegates in a short question-and-answer session in the afternoon.


READ MORE:
Alberta NDP’s Brian Mason won’t be running in next election

Notley reiterated a number of policy positions, saying the decision to run up capital spending and budget deficits, while investing in innovation and diversification, and hiking the minimum wage, have borne results.

“The proof, my friends, is in the pudding,” said Notley.

“Our province led the country in growth last year, is leading the country in growth this year, is projected to lead the country in growth next year and is projected to lead the country in growth the year after that.”

Notley will address delegates in a speech Sunday.

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Premier Brian Gallant gets permission from lieutenant-governor to continue governing New Brunswick

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New Brunswick’s lieutenant-governor on Tuesday gave Brian Gallant permission to continue governing the province while the Liberals try to win the confidence of the legislature with fewer seats than his main opponent.

Gallant, who remains as premier, met with Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau the morning after the results of the provincial election suggested the Progressive Conservatives had eked out a minority government — 22 seats to the Liberals’ 21 — in a legislature requiring 25 for a majority. 

Two third parties each won three seats.

In a media scrum, Gallant said he expected the New Brunswick Legislature to sit before Christmas, and if the Liberals lose confidence of the house, the government would resign.

« Nobody was given a mandate to form a government last night, » Gallant said. « The people elected 49 MLAs who must now try to work together. »

The Liberals find themselves in a difficult spot despite taking a larger piece of the popular vote in the province’s 39th general election. With all polls reporting, the Liberals received 37.8 per cent of the votes compared with the PC share of 31.9 per cent.

The PCs and the Liberals were in a dead heat, at 21 seats, when the final votes were counted. The last poll in Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin secured re-election for Tory Jake Stewart and the party’s 22nd seat.

« We recognize very much that New Brunswickers have sent a very strong message that they want things to change, » he said.

« They did not clearly define who they wanted to lead that change, that is clear. But we did get the plurality of votes. »

The province’s last minority government happened in 1920, when the United Farmers party held the balance of power.

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