What to watch for in New Brunswick ridings tonight

·3 min read
The federal election will likely see some interesting stories play out in New Brunswick after polls close tonight. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The federal election will likely see some interesting stories play out in New Brunswick after polls close tonight. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit)

It's election day in Canada, and New Brunswick has more than its fair share of intriguing political story lines that will be resolved after the polls close at 8:30 p.m. Atlantic time.

Because of the country's time zones, two hours will go by before polls close in the next set of provinces to the west of us, giving us ample time to watch the numbers and see what develops.

Here are four stories worth watching tonight.

Three ridings to watch

People involved in the campaigns agree that there are three close races in New Brunswick to keep an eye on tonight.

In Fredericton, the Greens are fighting to keep a seat they won last time, one of only three in the country, after the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals. The riding was a three-way race last time, so watch the Conservative vote as well.

Guy LeBlanc/Radio-Canada
Guy LeBlanc/Radio-Canada

Saint John-Rothesay and Miramichi-Grand Lake are also considered close races between the Liberals and Conservatives.

It could be a late night in all three of them.

The battle on the left

New Brunswick was one of only two provinces in the last election where the Green share of the vote was greater than the NDP's. The other was Prince Edward Island.

And at the provincial level, the new Brunswick Greens, with three MLAs re-elected to the legislature last year, continue to be the main vehicle for left-leaning voters.

Evan Mitsui/CBC
Evan Mitsui/CBC

The NDP hasn't elected a provincial member since 2003 and hasn't been a factor federally in New Brunswick since Yvon Godin retired as MP for Acadie-Bathurst six years ago.

But NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has boosted his party's support across Canada, while the national Greens have struggled with internal feuds over policy and leadership.

Whether that translates into the NDP gaining any ground on its progressive rival will be one subplot to watch tonight.

The battle on the right

Conservatives haven't had to worry about vote splits on their side of the political spectrum since 2000, the last election before the merger of the Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance.

But anger over COVID-19 measures, including vaccine mandates and passports, have fuelled growing support for the People's Party of Canada — to the point that some Conservatives now fret that it may draw enough votes from them to cost them seats.

CBC
CBC

New Brunswick was the PPC's second-best province after Alberta for share of the popular vote in 2019, and in Miramichi-Grand Lake the party's 1,216 votes may have cost the Conservatives the win. Peggy McLean lost to Liberal Pat Finnigan by only 370 votes.

Many PPC supporters are first-time voters, however, and some have even defected from other parties. So they may not affect only the Conservatives.

The impact on policy

Perhaps most important, elections matter because they determine who will implement the policies that affect our lives.

After the Liberals won six out of 10 New Brunswick seats and the province's popular vote in 2019, Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs reluctantly decided that voters were not opposed to carbon taxes and he soon adopted a provincial one.

Today, the province is one of only three that have not signed child-care agreements with the Trudeau government to fund new spaces.

In a close result, New Brunswick's 10 seats will help determine whether Justin Trudeau's Liberals remain in office to negotiate such an agreement, or whether Erin O'Toole's Conservative Party wins power and scraps the program in favour of a per-child tax credit to help families cover child care costs.

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