The New Brunswick Liberal Party on Friday afternoon rejected the offer of the minority government of the province, which offered opposition parties a deal to avoid a general election.
Earlier this week, New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs had proposed to leaders of all parties represented in the Legislative Assembly to sign an agreement not to call an election until September 2022, or no earlier than 30 days after the declaration of a possible end of the pandemic by public health officials.
The discussions lasted for almost three full days. “It soon became clear that this was just an attempt to take power by the Prime Minister», Accused the leader of the Liberal Party, Kevin Vickers, announcing the rejection of the agreement.
In explaining his decision, the Liberal leader argued that Premier Blaine Higgs wanted to rush through legislative changes that go too far, particularly in the area of municipal reform and taxes. This way of doing things is not acceptable in a democracy, argued Kevin Vickers.
«The people gave the Prime Minister a minority mandate. He wants the other political parties to give him the powers of a majority government. He wants absolute control to pass the laws without being challenged“, Accused Mr. Vickers.
«It is the role and responsibility of the opposition to protect our democracy“, he said.
Soon an election in New Brunswick?
According to the Liberal Party, the premier ordered Elections New Brunswick to prepare for an election. “The Prime Minister is the person who has the power to call an election. If there is a general election, Prime Minister Higgs must take responsibility for causing themInsisted Mr. Vickers.
The Liberal leader continues to maintain that calling a general election during a pandemic would be an irresponsible act because it “play with people’s health“, according to him.
«I don’t plan to call an election in the next 48 hoursPrime Minister Blaine Higgs said late Friday afternoon.
He said he would think about the next steps over the weekend.
«It makes the path clearer, some would say, or more difficult.”, He mentioned, speaking of the failure of the agreement. “I believe it is clear. »
The People’s Alliance of New Brunswick, which has three members of the Legislative Assembly, is disappointed with the end of the talks. “It is now clear that New Brunswickers will be forced to go to the pollsAlliance leader and Fredericton-Grand Lac MP Kris Austin said in a statement Friday afternoon.
The People’s Alliance, which has generally associated itself with the Progressive Conservative Party since the election of this minority government, has attacked the provincial Liberals for the failure of the accord. Kris Austin claims to be “skeptical” from “sincerity» de Kevin Vickers «from the first day of these negotiations».
Kevin Vickers assured Friday that he had participated “in good faithTo these negotiations.
Kris Austin recalls having requested, with his MPs Michelle Conroy and Rick DeSaulniers, changes to the bilingualism requirements for the hiring of certain workers in New Brunswick. These requirements on the mastery of French, according to the Alliance members, must be revised downwards. “We still have a glaring language problem in this provinceAustin said on Friday.
«It is important to understand that the Prime Minister was sincere with this initiative “Green Party leader David Coon said, adding with a smile that Blaine Higgs is”not the easiest guy to work with ».«We have often had a dialogue of the deaf, no doubt, because we were aiming are so different Mr. Coon continued. “He was creative in trying something that hadn’t been done before. We had some fascinating discussions to see what might happen, but in the end it didn’t work out. »
The three People’s Alliance MPs have participated in the discussions over the past few days. The New Brunswick Green Party also relied on its three MPs, including its leader, at the negotiating table.
However, not all the elected members of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Liberal Party were invited to attend.
Minority government for 21 months
The Progressive Conservative Party, which has led a minority government since November 2018, holds 20 seats in the Legislative Assembly and the Liberal Party 19, not including the Speaker of the House. The People’s Alliance and the Green Party have three seats each. There is also an independent member and two vacant seats.
Video: The Bloc Québécois issues an ultimatum to the Trudeau government (Radio-Canada.ca)
Click here to enlarge