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N.B. chief electoral officer to testify on spending from Higgs snap election threats

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s chief electoral officer is to appear before a legislature committee today to discuss the millions of dollars in extra spending incurred by her office because of the premier’s threats to call an early election. 

Kim Poffenroth has said her office spent more than $3.2 million in total pre-election expenditures last year, including nearly $2 million that cannot be recovered.

In a letter she wrote to the committee dated Jan. 19, Poffenroth says Elections New Brunswick far exceeded the budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year because the agency had to prepare for the prospect of a snap election.

New Brunswick was rife with election speculation last summer, following months of internal turmoil in the Progressive Conservative government led by Premier Blaine Higgs.

Poffenroth’s letter says that of the $3.2 million spent last year preparing for possible early polls, nearly $2 million are sunk costs and will likely be incurred again in the lead-up to the general election, which has to take place by October. 

Higgs eventually decided not to call a snap election, as dissenting members of his party fell into line. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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