Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A New Brunswick election? An initial post on local politics

I have not, you might say, taken to my new province of residence like a duck to water - unlike the hordes of ducks, geese and other water-loving birds that are camped out in the Sackville Waterfowl Park less than 500 metres from my office. So you have been more likely to read my comments on what Dalton McGuinty, Jean Charest or Stephen Harper have been up to, rather than about the actions of my own Premier, media darling and shameless flirt with the federal Conservative party, the one-and-only Bernard Lord.

To be honest, I haven't paid much attention to provincial politics here, and I don't like watching the local news. The last time I did, the lead story was about how the government wanted local aboriginal bands to register their moose kills. The number two story was a Fredericton man who had gone walking in the woods behind his house and got lost overnight, but survived thanks to his faith in God. I have limits to how much of this I can take.

But lo and behold, it looks like we're heading for a fall election. We've heard this before, of course, since the government majority hangs on one seat, and the NDP are no longer a presence in the Legislative Assembly. But it appears that a Conservative MLA is about to step down because of a return to the private sector. Which one, you might ask, as I (to my great embarassment) did? Peter Mesheau, who happens to be the MLA for my own provincial district of Tantramar - a fact I had to look up this morning. So there is a local component to this race. Mesheau has been the MLA since 1997, but this is hardly a true-blue riding. It was Liberal for the period from 1987-97, and NDP in the 1982 election! A by-election is not necessarily a sure thing for the Conservatives, hence the talk of a general election, even though one is not due until next year.

So over the next couple of months, assuming we get the election call, I'm going to try to provide some coverage of what is happening in the New Brunswick election. Energy is sure to be a huge issue - our gasoline prices haven't been less than $1.00 per litre since I moved here a year ago, and they are currently much closer to $1.20. Heating costs are astronomical, which prompted the government to create a rebate plan over the winter. Another issue that has been dormant, but could easily be revived, is automobile insurance, which continues to be cripplingly expensive (as I discovered to my chagrin when I moved here from Quebec). Add in a mix of local issues, plus the usual bugbears of health and education, and this could be a very heated election. At least so I hope. We may end up waiting another year for the call.

Stay tuned!

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At 9:59 am, Blogger RP. said...

NB politics can be interesting. Lots of environmental issues.

At 3:04 pm, Anonymous Maurice said...

As a New Brunswicker now living in Nova Scotia, I still find NB politics interesting. Let's not forget, for instance, the 1987 election which saw McKenna's Liberals take every seat in the Assembly.

At 4:01 pm, Blogger Matt said...

I've actually got a professional interest in New Brunswick politics - particularly where its language policies are concerned. I just hadn't been following recent politics since arriving, other than what I could find on the CBC New Brunswick website, which has been less than stimulating. I'm hoping that the election causes things to heat up!


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