Fredericton (October 29, 2020) – Tuesday, The Chief Electoral Officer, Kim Poffenroth, was called before a federal parliamentary committee to give her account of how the election unfolded in New Brunswick. The Premier has since been quoted in the media criticizing Ms. Poffenroth for pointing out questionable decisions made by government.
“The Chief electoral Officer was called before a Federal Parliamentary Committee to give an unbiased and detailed account of the best practices and the challenges faced during the election, including the very short election period that potentially disenfranchised some voters and the lack of a plan to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak,” says Melanson. “These are very real concerns we had going into the election and should be considered by any other jurisdiction considering a general election. The Premier knew about these concerns and decided to hold an election anyway, he has no right to condemn Ms. Poffenroth for doing her job and bringing her concerns to Ottawa.”
Last week, the Minister of Education Dominic Cardy accused the Auditor General of creating a false narrative in her most recent report. Liberal interim Leader Roger Melanson called on Premier Higgs to show Leadership and ask Minister Cardy to apologize, instead the Premier supported this criticism.
“I found the Premier’s reaction to Minister Cardy’s behaviour towards the Auditor General quite disappointing” says Roger Melanson. “It shows a sense of superiority from this Government, they feel entitled to criticize the work of independent experts in their fields and I find that is a little worrisome.”
Melanson is expressing concern about the Higgs government’s attitude towards those who disagree with them.
“During the last 2 years of the Higgs government’s first mandate, we saw a pattern of disregarding expert opinions in favour of what government wanted to do,” says Melanson. “I’m worried about how far they are going to take their authoritative attitude now that they have a majority, but I want to ensure New Brunswickers that the Official Opposition will not let this type of behaviour go unchecked.”