Over the last four years, I’ve learned much from New Brunswickers. Being premier provides an amazing opportunity to see every inch of our beautiful province, to learn about our history and our collective hopes for the future, and to better understand New Brunswickers’ struggles and their ideas on how to overcome them.
New Brunswickers have continually taught me new things. Election night was no different.
One has to be careful to not conclude that there is one general message given by the electorate when analyzing any election results. There is no doubt; however, that several messages were conveyed through the results of this year’s provincial election.
The Liberal party received over 22,000 more votes than any other party, but we hear New Brunswickers when they say they want us to work together. New Brunswickers, for the first time in 100 years, did not give any of the political parties a mandate to govern alone.
By giving third parties more voices in the Legislature, many New Brunswickers have sent a clear message to the Liberals and the Conservatives that third parties will play an important role in moving New Brunswick forward. The minority government situation we are presently in is novel to most New Brunswickers and is causing some confusion, but it represents a historic opportunity to do things differently; to do things better; to do things by working together.
If the 49 women and men that have been sent to Fredericton can work together like New Brunswickers have asked us to do, we can hopefully address the very evident distrust and disdain for politicians and politics we are seeing across the Western World.
Although New Brunswickers differed in the political parties they voted for, I have learned over the last four years that as New Brunswickers we have so much more that binds us than divides us.
Over the last four years I’ve had the opportunity to meet, listen to, and discuss with thousands of New Brunswickers. I can tell you that no matter where you’re from; northern or southern New Brunswick, urban or rural areas, west side or east side Saint John, Kedgwick or Saint-Quentin, Riverview or Dieppe, Napan or Neguac, north side or south side Fredericton, Grand Manan island or Miscou Island, we are all New Brunswickers that want what’s best for our province no matter who we are – Anglophone, Francophone, First Nation, or new Canadian, we are all New Brunswickers that generally want the same things.
We all want the children of our province to have the best educational opportunities possible. We all want our family members and friends to have the chance to build their careers right here in New Brunswick. We all want timely access to high quality health care and social services so we can have healthy families and safe communities. We all want to help the generation that built this province by ensuring they can retire with dignity and respect by providing them appropriate senior care. We all want to lift children and families out of poverty. We all want to see gender equality. We all want to hand over New Brunswick to the next generation in a better state than we received it which means we all want to see the economy continue to grow and fiscal health improve, our environment protected, and stronger services for all New Brunswickers.
We all want to see our family and friends be happy and live satisfying lives.
How we go about accomplishing all of these things is what needs to be discussed, debated, and decided. By embracing the current minority government situation, we have an opportunity to find common ground with more perspectives represented in the Legislature. New Brunswickers have called on us to collaborate more than ever before, and by doing so we will be better positioned to strengthen our province. If we do not, we risk dividing our province more so than ever before.
The 59th Legislative Assembly will convene on October 23rd and all 49 members will aim to bring clarity to this situation, provide confidence to a government, and hopefully demonstrate a new and collaborative way of serving New Brunswickers. After all, that is clearly one of the messages sent to politicians by New Brunswickers on election night.
Premier of New Brunswick