FREDERICTON – Brian Gallant has asked his party to organize a leadership convention to choose his successor and will serve as opposition leader in the interim. Gallant made the announcement today joined by his wife Karine.
“It has been an absolute honour to have had the chance to serve as premier and leader of the Liberal Party,” said Gallant. “I am proud to have left our province better than I found it.”
Gallant highlighted a number of accomplishments during his premiership:
- – Working with New Brunswickers, invested in infrastructure, cut taxes form small businesses by 44%, helped grow exports, grew the economy and reduced the unemployment rate significantly. Population grew to a record high. A budget surplus was achieved for the first time in a decade.
- – A fairer economy was created. Wages rose every year, at times faster than all provinces.
- – The Gallant government invested in families by helping with the cost of childcare and tuition, or made them free for those who needed the most support and hired more family doctors in order to have one of the highest percentage of people having a family doctor of all the provinces.
- – Concrete action was taken to combat climate change, the greatest threat facing humanity.
- – Under his watch, government achieved the second lowest gender wage gap of all provinces in 2017; ensured over half the appointments to provincial agencies, boards and commissions went to women; and established the first gender parity of judges in our provincial court.
“I am incredibly grateful to have had the chance to serve as leader of the Liberal Party for the past six years,” said Gallant. “Together as a party, we have been able to implement many progressive and forward thinking policies that will grow a fairer economy while protecting the environment, strengthen education and health care in our province, and advance women’s equality.”
Under Gallant the Liberal Party of New Brunswick won the popular vote in two elections and now holds 21 seats compared to 13 when he won the leadership in 2012.
“Nonetheless, we were not a perfect government and I was not a perfect leader; we were not able to win a majority of seats in this election and we were not able to gain the confidence of the house to lead a minority government. I believe the Liberal Party is the party that is best suited to unite our province and advance progressive policies. To help the party do that, I want to allow it to put a new face and energy into its leadership. Now is the right time to step aside.”
Gallant said he would serve as opposition leader and leader of the Liberal Party until his successor was chosen. The Liberal Party of New Brunswick’s board of directors is expected to meet in the next few weeks to set a timetable for that process. Gallant said he would appoint a shadow cabinet later this week and be prepared to provide a collaborative, constructive approach while keeping the government accountable.
“During these uncharted waters of a minority government, I will stay at the helm of the party to provide some stability while the party chooses the next leader.”