Recount forces Fredericton council's swearing-in ceremony to be postponed

·3 min read
Candidate Janet Moser conceded Wednesday night against incumbent Henri Mallet in Fredericton's Ward 12. (Facebook - image credit)
Candidate Janet Moser conceded Wednesday night against incumbent Henri Mallet in Fredericton's Ward 12. (Facebook - image credit)

Monday night's swearing-in ceremony with Fredericton's new city council won't be happening.

That's because of the recount requested in Ward 12, which was the tightest race in Fredericton's 2021 municipal election last week.

"That was kind of an optimistic date," Jennifer Lawson Murray, clerk for the City of Fredericton, said Thursday.

"In the past, we've always been able to do it two weeks after the election. We haven't had any recounts."

A swearing-in ceremony can happen 10 days after a municipal election.

"If you have a recount, that pushes the time out further," Lawson Murray said.

The recount was done this week, but the swearing-in is now planned for June 14.

Candidate won't ask for judicial count

Lawson Murray said the swearing-in ceremony was already delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The municipal election was held on May 10, but voters had to wait another two weeks before results could be released.

Janet Moser filed an application last week with Elections New Brunswick for a recount after coming 23 votes short of incumbent Henri Mallet in Ward 12.

According to the Municipal Elections Act, a candidate can apply for a recount if there is a difference of 25 votes or less.

It's a process, there are timelines we've got to follow. - Henri Mallet, incumbent for Ward 12 in Fredericton

"With under 25 votes, I owed it to the folks that really believed in me," Moser said. "I owed it to them and I owed it to myself."

In the recount Wednesday, Moser gained one vote, putting her 22 votes behind Mallet.

After the results were finalized, Moser conceded Wednesday.

"Now I congratulate him on his win and I look forward to having our new mayor at the helm," Moser said. "I'm here in any capacity if I'm asked to join one of the city committees."

Moser said she owed it to voters and herself to file for a recount with Elections New Brunswick.
Moser said she owed it to voters and herself to file for a recount with Elections New Brunswick.(Andrew Vaughan / Canadian Press)

In an email to CBC News Thursday morning, Elections New Brunswick spokesperson Paul Harpelle, confirmed Mallet's win.

Initially, Mallet received 703 votes, with Moser coming in a close second with 680 votes. A third candidate, Kandise Brown, had 446 votes.

Moser said she plans to run again in four years.

Judicial review won't happen

She still has 10 days to go to the Court of Queen's Bench for a judicial review, which would push the swearing-in ceremony back again.

But Moser said she won't ask for a judicial review.

"I didn't feel like we had to take it any further than that," she said. "The result is what it is at this point."

Mallet said the past week and a half "has been interesting," but said he understands the delay in council's swearing-in ceremony.

"It's a process, there are timelines we've got to follow," he said.

Incoming councillors, current council and city staff were notified of the ceremony's postponement by email Wednesday evening.

This means the current council is still in power until a new council is sworn-in.

"It's unfortunate for the 12 others," Mallet said. "But at the end of the day, an extra week doesn't make that much of a difference."

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