A little progress, and a lot of uncertainty in N.B. politics
Published Friday, October 12, 2018 9:43PM ADT
Another week is ending without a clear indication of who will be governing New Brunswick when the legislature resumes a week from next Tuesday.
There is some small area of agreement among the parties, on one issue. But, while that's being help up as a sign of progress, there are a great many more uncertainties ahead.
“At least we got some signals the parties are willing to talk about this,” St. Thomas University political scientist Tom Bateman said of the multi-party agreement to work on the paramedics issue.
Where that goes from here is unclear, but the week did bring another breakthrough: a quick exchange between two political foes who hadn’t spoken since the election.
“He was there, we were both getting water at the same time,” Progressive Conservative leader Blaine Higgs said of his conversation with Liberal leader Brian Gallant.
“I essentially just congratulated him for winning his seat in Quispamsis,” Gallant said.
Bateman attributed it to the heat of the campaign dissipating.
“Perhaps the passage of a couple weeks of coasting around and indecision and so-fourth have cooled the temperature a little bit and enabled them to think ‘okay, a minority government is a new situation, we can't just beat up on each other because we may need one another,’” Bateman said. “And that's a new thing and everybody is getting used to that possibility.”
And that includes the people who voted, many of whom are learning about the democratic system and some of the rules that don’t often come into play.
The next hurdle is electing a speaker and so far, there are no takers for that job.
“That is perhaps a lot more important than it sounds,” Bateman said. “Because you have to have a speaker before any other business goes forward, before any other business at the assembly goes forward including the speech from the throne.”
Each MLA-elect will be officially sworn in on Friday, Oct. 19.
The election of the speaker and throne speech are planned for Oct. 23.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.