PCs sweep Miramichi-area byelections

·3 min read
Premier Blaine Higgs celebrated Monday night with Miramichi Bay-Neguac MLA-elect Réjean Savoie.  (Jacques Poitras/CBC - image credit)
Premier Blaine Higgs celebrated Monday night with Miramichi Bay-Neguac MLA-elect Réjean Savoie. (Jacques Poitras/CBC - image credit)

It was a Progressive Conservative sweep in the Miramichi region as the party won both local byelections Monday night.

Both Miramichi Bay-Neguac and Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin will send PC MLAs to the legislature in Fredericton.

The final results in Miramichi Bay-Neguac according to Elections New Brunswick are:

  • Réjean Savoie (PC) - 2286

  • Shawn Wood (Liberal) - 1753

  • Chad Duplessie (Green) - 772

  • Tom L'Huillier (People's Alliance) - 172

  • Richard "Hoss" Sutherland (Independent) - 99

The final results in Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin according to Elections New Brunswick are:

  • Mike Dawson (PCs) - 2542

  • Hannah Fulton Johnston (Liberals) - 1737

  • Larry Lynch (People's Alliance) - 363

  • Julie Guillemet-Ackerman (Greens) - 223

Voters in the two ridings went to the polls after their former MLAs stepped down last summer to run in the 2021 federal election.

CBC News will provide a running tally of the votes as they come in to Elections New Brunswick.

PC flip in Miramichi Bay-Neguac

The PCs were able to flip the riding of Miramichi Bay-Neguac, which had been held by the Liberals since 2014.

MLA-elect Réjean Savoie said he was happy to become the second francophone PC MLA in caucus, but said his job will be primarily to represent his constituents.

"I was elected for the people of my riding and to represent them well and that's what I intend to do," said Savoie.

Premier Blaine Higgs, who made an appearance at Savoie's election headquarters, said having another francophone voice in caucus was important for the government.

"Having that diversity and opinions in our system is what we need to make the right decisions going forward, so this is great news," said Higgs.

Liberal Candidate Shawn Wood went to PC party headquarters to congratulate Savoie on his victory.

He said he was disappointed in the result and said he would've liked to see a larger turnout at the polls.

Jacques Poitras/CBC
Jacques Poitras/CBC

He said the fact that Savoie gives the riding a seat in government may have pushed some voters to the PC side.

"He would obviously have more to offer than I could for the first two years for sure," said Wood.

Tests for parties

The two byelection victories will be a morale booster for the governing Progressive Conservatives.

The vote comes almost halfway through the government's mandate, a time when governments usually have difficulty winning byelections.

Jacques Poitras/CBC
Jacques Poitras/CBC

Claude Williams, president of the PC party, said the results show that after more than two years of COVID-19 and inflationary woes, voters are looking for stability — which he said the PCs can provide.

"I think people [have] seen good things with this government and I guess they want [it to] continue the agenda and the vision of the Blaine Higgs government," said Williams.

Questions for People's Alliance

The election, however, is likely not what what members of the People's Alliance were hoping for.

The party had been disbanded earlier this year when its previous leader, Kris Austin, crossed the floor and joined the PCs.

The party was soon revived under new leader Rick DeSaulniers but does not appear to be on track to duplicate its strong showing in the area in 2020 when it came in second place in Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin and third in Miramichi Bay-Neguac.

Jonathan Colicott/CBC
Jonathan Colicott/CBC

The ridings were formerly represented by Liberal Lisa Harris (Miramichi Bay-Neguac) and Progressive Conservative Jake Stewart (Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin.)

Stewart would later win the federal seat of Miramichi-Grand Lake running under the Conservative Party of Canada banner.