By the Skin of Their Teeth

What was supposed to be a cakewalk for the New Brunswick Progressive Conversatives …wasn’t!

1999 Vs. 2003 Results: First-Through-the-Gate System
Party 1999 Votes/Seats* 2003 Votes/Seats
Prog. Conservative 53.0% 44 45.5% 28
Liberal 37.3% 10 44.3% 26
New Democrats 8.8% 1 9.7% 1

* By the dissolution of the Assembly, the PCs had 47 seats, having won 3 by-elections at the expense of the Liberals between 1999 and 2003.

With a gain of only 7% of the popular vote, the Liberals gained 19 seats (from 7 to 26) and defeated 4 PC cabinet ministers, with automobile insurance seemingly having become the determining issue. Some of my New Brunswick friends who have dealings with the provincial government are probably not surprised with these results, as they considered Premier Bernard Lord’s Progressive Conversatives to have been arrogant, often overlooking the most basic rules of protocol.

Bottom line: The PCs form a slim majority government. How slim? The PCs have to name one of their MLA as Speaker of the House, who can then only vote to break a tie. So the Legislature had 27 government, 27 opposition, 1 tie breaker members. Some people don’t like such tight majorities or minority governments, but I do. Those MLAs can’t slack off a single day, and good for that! :->}

Two interesting points: (1) Though we don’t have proportional representation, this is close to the correct result …except that the NDP got 9.7% of the vote and only one seat. Here’s how the dissolved and the new Legislative Assembly might look like under PR. (The new Assembly would have been a minority government unless the Liberals and NDP decided to form an alliance to trump the Conservatives.)

1999 Vs. 2003 Results: Proportional Representation System
Party 1999 Votes/Seats 2003 Votes/Seats
Prog. Conservative 53.0% 29 45.5% 26
Liberal 37.3% 21 44.3% 24
New Democrats 8.8% 5 9.7% 5

And (2) I graduated from high school with New Brunswick Premier Reelect, Bernard Lord. I didn’t think much of him back then and I think even less of him now. I find that he’s an opportunist of the worst kind and I just don’t trust his grin.

Finally, here’s a quiz for non-Maritimers. Below are the 3 party leaders. Guess which person leads which party.

graham.jpg Blue, Red or Orange?
graham2.jpg Blue, Red or Orange?
graham3.jpg Blue, Red or Orange?

Bonus points: Which one studied economics and law? Which one studied sociology and social work? And which one studied physical education and education?