Gal­lant yet to de­cide fu­ture

Journal Pioneer - - ATLANTIC - BY KEVIN BISSETT

A new Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment has been sworn-in Fri­day in New Brunswick, leav­ing for­mer premier Brian Gal­lant to de­cide if he’ll stay on to lead his Lib­eral party. Gal­lant’s mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment was top­pled last week in a con­fi­dence vote on the throne speech, and he said he hasn’t de­cided on his fu­ture. “Many peo­ple have asked me to stay on to be the leader of the Lib­eral party, the leader of the Op­po­si­tion, and go into the next elec­tion as leader,” he said Thurs­day.

“All of these words of en­cour­age­ment are per­haps what’s mak­ing Karine and I think long and hard about ex­actly how we wish to con­trib­ute to the prov­ince go­ing for­ward.” How­ever, Gal­lant said he won’t let the de­ci­sion process drag on, and will an­nounce his in­ten­tions soon.

“I do think I can be an ef­fec­tive leader of the Op­po­si­tion. I re­ally do think we could con­tinue some of the mo­men­tum we started if ever we were given the chance to gov­ern again,” he said.

Gal­lant said if he was to quit as leader, he would re­main the MLA for his rid­ing of She­diac Bay-Dieppe.

Gal­lant has close ties with a num­ber of key play­ers in the fed­eral Lib­eral party, in­clud­ing his friend, Do­minic LeBlanc, the Min­is­ter of In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Af­fairs, North­ern Af­fairs and In­ter­nal Trade - but Gal­lant said he has no in­ten­tions to make a run at fed­eral pol­i­tics in next year’s elec­tion.

He said in ret­ro­spect, many of his ini­tia­tives over the last four years put too much pres­sure on busi­nesses. Gal­lant said he didn’t do enough to talk about the ben­e­fits of bilin­gual­ism, and did a poor job of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with New Brunswick­ers. “These are some of the things I should have done bet­ter as premier and I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity for the re­sults of the elec­tion and I’m go­ing to make it my re­spon­si­bil­ity, in which­ever role I will play mov­ing for­ward, to learn from those mis­takes and con­sis­tently try to im­prove,” he said.

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

The Tories can stay in of­fice with the sup­port of the three Al­liance mem­bers, which gives them the 25 votes needed for a ma­jor­ity.

CP PHOTO

New Brunswick Lib­eral Leader Brian Gal­lant an­swers ques­tions from the me­dia after meet­ing with Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor of New Brunswick Jo­ce­lyne Roy-Vi­en­neau last week at Gov­ern­ment House in Fredericton.

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