Higgs sworn-in as N.B. pre­mier

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC -

New Brunswick’s new Tory gov­ern­ment has been sworn in, with a 17-mem­ber cabi­net that in­cludes four women and the party’s lone fran­co­phone MLA as deputy pre­mier.

“To­day it has been en­trusted upon us for the next chap­ter in New Brunswick’s story,” Pre­mier Blaine Higgs said after be­ing sworn-in as the prov­ince’s 34th pre­mier.

The cer­e­mony, in the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture Fri­day, came just a week after the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment of Brian Gal­lant was de­feated on a con­fi­dence vote.

At the age of 64, Higgs is the oldest per­son to as­sume the job of pre­mier in a prov­ince with a his­tory of choos­ing young lead­ers.

Higgs thanked friends, fam­ily and sup­port­ers, and asked for the help of all New Brunswick­ers to fix the prob­lems fac­ing the prov­ince.

“I humbly ask each and ev­ery one of you to help me in meet­ing that re­spon­si­bil­ity. This can­not be ac­com­plished alone,” he said.

Higgs named a cabi­net of 17 min­is­ters, in­clud­ing him­self.

Robert Gau­vin, the Tories’ lone mem­ber in north­ern New Brunswick, has been named deputy pre­mier and min­is­ter of Tourism, Cul­ture and Her­itage.

There are four women in cabi­net, in­clud­ing rookie An­drea An­der­son-Ma­son, who be­comes min­is­ter of Jus­tice and At­tor­ney Gen­eral.

Ted Flem­ming re­turns to cabi­net as min­is­ter of Health - a po­si­tion he held un­der the for­mer gov­ern­ment of then pre­mier David Al­ward.

At the age of 71, for­mer mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Greg Thomp­son has been named min­is­ter of In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Af­fairs.

Do­minic Cardy, the prov­ince’s for­mer NDP leader who ran for the Tories in Septem­ber’s elec­tion, was named min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion and Early Child­hood Devel­op­ment.

Higgs is­sued a chal­lenge to the new cabi­net min­is­ters.

“You are the first new cabi­net of a new era in gov­ern­ment - a new era that will bring change for our prov­ince - pos­i­tive change that will get us on the road to re­cov­ery, one where col­lab­o­ra­tion is more im­por­tant than win­ning an ar­gu­ment,” he said.

Stand­ings in the 49-seat leg­is­la­ture are 22 Tories, 21 Lib­er­als, three Green party mem­bers and three Peo­ple’s Al­liance MLAs.

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