Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Election Fever?

Interesting times in New Brunswick! The Telegraph-Journal reports today that "(s)trategists for both major parties are speculating we could be headed to the polls as early as next month" ... "pointing to dates as early as Sept. 18 or Sept. 25". Crazy and exciting all at once. (check out Wikipedia's election site here)

Apparently former Finance Minister Peter Mesheau (who was demoted to Business Minister after the 2003 election and left the cabinet in February saying he would not run again) has found a new job. He has started already and will likely have to resign his seat before the House returns on October 18. This would create New Brunswick's second minority government of the year and apparently the poor little premier can't hack it. According to the TJ "he has no desire to sit through another session like the one this spring".

With the most recent CRA poll showing Lord leading in the polls for the first time since August 2003 and on the heels of his "super good budget", it would seem like a logical time for Lord to call an election.

I would warn him though that he went into the 2003 election with an 11 point lead and one which was much more solid and consistent than the one he currently enjoys.

The alternative would be to call a quick by-election in Mesheau's Tantramar riding before the House comes back for the fall but there would be no guarantee Lord could hold the seat which went NDP in 1982 and Liberal in '87, '91 and '95. That record coupled with Lord's dismal showing in the past two by-elections this term (1, 2) might give one pause before deciding on this course of action.

In any event, this rumour has finally given me the kick in the rear I need to start blogging and hopefully the campaign will give me the chance to carry on with lots of juicy news from the picture province.

UPDATE: It just occured to me that calling a by-election would be a dangerous move for Lord indeed. If the Liberals were to win that by-election and Frank Branch rejoined their caucus, the Liberals would suddenly have 28 out of 55 seats. A majority government of their own.

UPDATE 2: CBC is now reporting on this here.

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