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N.B. premier announces changes to cabinet after two ministers announce plans to leave

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New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs revealed changes to his cabinet Friday morning after two ministers announced they are leaving.

Mike Holland, New Brunswick’s minister of natural resources and energy development, said in a statement earlier in the morning he will not run again in the next provincial election.

Holland said it was a difficult decision and he is “proud of the achievements made under Premier Higgs” and the Progressive Conservative Party.

“I know with certainty that this work leaves my constituency and our province in better shape than when I was first elected,” he said the statement.

Holland said he will continue to serve both in cabinet and as MLA for the electoral district of Albert until after the next election.

In an email statement, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Arlene Dunn said she is immediately stepping away from cabinet and resigning from her seat as MLA for Saint John Harbour.

“After much consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided not to reoffer in the upcoming 2024 provincial election,” said Dunn.

“Serving the people of New Brunswick and representing the wonderful people in my riding of Saint John Harbour has been a true privilege and honour of a lifetime.”

Dunn has served as minister of several portfolios, including post secondary education training and labour, immigration, opportunities New Brunswick, economic development and small business.

“I hate to see them both go obviously, to be very frank, but everyone has to make a personal choice,” said Higgs.

Cabinet changes

As of Friday, Holland will serve as minister of Aboriginal affairs in addition to serving as natural resources and energy development minster.

Additionally, Higgs says Greg Turner will serve as minister of post-secondary education, training and labour as well as the minister responsible for immigration.

Turner will still serve as minister responsible for Opportunities New Brunswick and minister responsible for economic development and small business.

“These ministers will begin acting in their new role immediately. Their additional responsibilities will be formalized next week,” Higgs said during a Friday news conference.

“I want to thank ministers Holland and Turner for taking on these added responsibilities in service to the people of this province.”

Sherry Wilson seeks nomination

Cabinet minister and Moncton Southwest MLA Sherry Wilson said in a Friday afternoon statement she will seek the Progressive Conservative nomination in the new Albert-Riverview riding.

“The Honourable Mike Holland has served the people of this area with pride and distinction. I’m proud to add my voice to those who are thanking Mike and wishing him the very best with the future,” she said.

Spring election?

It’s the second major cabinet change for the premier since last summer when ministers stepped down over leadership concerns.

Given this is an election year, the moves over the last day came as a surprise for political professor J.P. Lewis.

“At the federal level we see, not necessarily ministers heading for the doors, but we see back bench MPs saying they aren’t going to reoffer. It speaks to something when this is going on when an election is coming up and they have a good chance of holding onto power,” said Lewis.

As of now, the premier says he has no plans of a spring election.

“Could it come early? Yes it could, but right now we are focused on the initiatives pointed out in the state of the province, not focused on an early election,” said Higgs.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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