FREDERICTON — New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says he won’t call an election this year, ending weeks of speculation that the governing Progressive Conservatives would go to the polls almost a year early.
The premier had repeatedly said he needed a new mandate to quell the political drama that has gripped the province for months, but he squelched election speculation today, saying there would no vote in 2023.
In June of this year, two of Higgs’s cabinet ministers quit, citing his inflexible leadership style and changes the majority government made to the province’s policy on gender identity in schools.
Six Tory members of the legislature voted with the Opposition to call for an external review of the policy change, and Higgs responded by dropping dissenters from cabinet.
Under the changes to Policy 713, students under 16 who are exploring their gender identity must get their parents’ consent before teachers can use their preferred first names or pronouns at school — a reversal of the previous practice.
Some Progressive Conservative party members called for Higgs to step down, but they failed to trigger a leadership review and dropped their demand in August.
The province’s fixed-date election law states that the next election must be called by Oct. 21, 2024.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2023.
The Canadian Press