New Brunswick Court of Appeal says 2020 snap election call by Higgs was legal

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's Court of Appeal has ruled that the August 2020 snap election call that won Premier Blaine Higgs a majority government was legal.

In a decision released Thursday, the court dismissed advocacy group Democracy Watch’s argument that the premier’s early election call was illegal because of the province’s fixed-date election law.

Writing for the three-judge panel, Justice Ernest Drapeau says there is no admissible evidence that the premier's decision to call a general election at that time came from "the pursuit of purely partisan electoral advantage."

Higgs triggered the vote two years ahead of New Brunswick's fixed election date because he said the province needed stability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The premier called the election after opposition parties refused a proposal to support his minority government until the fixed election date in 2022 or until the end of the pandemic.

In October 2021, the Court of Queen's Bench rejected Democracy Watch's bid to have snap elections declared illegal, but for different reasons than noted in the Appeal Court decision.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2022.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press