N.B. Liberals to hold convention, elect new leader in June after election loss
Former New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant, seen with wife Karine Gallant, announces his resignation as leader of the Liberal Party at the New Brunswick legislature on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Fredericton. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/James West)
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- New Brunswick Liberals will choose a new leader near the end of June, a party official confirmed Saturday.
"I think the party's excited about the opportunity to have a new chapter in our history," said Keiller Zed, executive director of the New Brunswick Liberal Association.
He said the party's board of directors met Saturday and unanimously voted to hold a leadership convention on June 22 at the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre.
Last month, former premier Brian Gallant announced he would step down as Liberal leader earlier than planned, saying the party needs to move on.
Gallant had announced his intention to resign in November after his party failed to form a minority government in the weeks following the Sept. 24 provincial election.
Zed said Gallant will remain as Liberal leader until the winter caucus meeting on Feb. 13, where the caucus will elect an interim leader ahead of the June convention.
According to the party's constitution, nomination papers for candidates will be made available eight weeks before the convention, and candidates must submit their nomination papers no less than two weeks before the convention.
The constitution also says these papers must be signed by no less than 50 members who are in good standing with the party.
Late last month, Kevin Vickers, the former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, who became Canada's ambassador to Ireland after being hailed as a hero for helping to end the 2014 attack on Parliament Hill, indicated an interest in the job.
At the time, though, Vickers said he was a "long ways from making a decision."
In November, New Brunswick's Telegraph Journal reported that Rene Ephestion, who leads the New Brunswick Liberal Multicultural Inclusion Commission, and Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long were both considering a shot at the position -- though Long told the paper that he would only run if the timing was right.
And Susan Holt, a former candidate for Fredericton South, told Global News in November that while she was flattered people were encouraging her to pursue a leadership bid, she was undecided about what she's going to do next.