Tuesday, September 04, 2007


As the dog days of summer wind up but before the political chitter chatter in New Brunswick picks up volume, I thought I would try to do something interesting. The talk of Dennis Atchison running for leader of the NDP reminded me of one up-and-comer in particular.

Last year, I first wrote about Rick Miles, the 37-year-old MLA from Fredericton-Silverwood and chair of the Government Caucus, in describing him as an "early 20s student" who had no chance against NDP star Atchison and Tory health minister Brad Green. Whoops. I mean it was close wasn't it? You say he won by 7 points and in 24 of 32 polls and tied in a 25th? Ahem.

So I have already made an earlier mea culpa on this one. I am able to restore a bit of my ego by noting that everyone else was of pretty much the same view. As I have before, I tip my hat to Mr. Miles for a tremendous victory.

Since then he re-surprised me in winning the chairmanship of the Liberal Government Caucus; an equally impressive feat for a first-time MLA. I understand he played a significant role in the defection of Mr. & Mrs. Stiles from the PCs and he has been one of the strongest backbench defenders of the government on the floor of the legislature.

If he didn't have the misfortune of sharing a city with T. J. Burke, Greg Byrne and Kelly Lamrock, I would say he was a sure bet to be in the cabinet whenever Mr. Graham decides to do a shuffle. With that sort of competition, it seems unlikely, but Mr. Miles has surprised us before. Keep an eye on this guy.

This will be the first in a series of profiles on rising stars inside and outside of the legislture in New Brunswick politics. Drop me a line or leave a comment if you would like to suggest someone.


Kit said...

Unfortunately, despite your comments about his success, he will be forever remembered by many of his constituents as the "grey" man who said nothing and did nothing to keep Albert Street Middle School in his riding, allowing the other two city Liberals to move it to theirs. He may be the newest cats meow for the party but he has done little for those who gave him the slim edge. I am still waiting to be impressed.

nbpolitico said...

Well I am reluctant to get into a dust up on the Albert Street School issue as I am really not aware of all of the facts, however, my understanding of it is that the new site is a far better location for a long series of reasons.

Assuming that one agrees with my understanding of the facts, then who is the better MLA: the one who supports building a new school at a better site with more grounds and areas for the children to play that happens to be 1km (or less?) out of his riding or the one who says damn what's best for the kids, the bricks and morter has got to be in my backyard?

Kit said...

That is the problem with assumptions, they are sometimes based on falsehoods and made with only half the facts. The case for keeping and building the new school on the current location was well researched and explained. Every reason Lamrock made to move it was countered. It is a matter of opinion as to which site is better and for which reason. Consequently, all that is known to most people is that the new site is bigger and therefore better, as you have mentioned, but that is not the whole story.
But my point on your post is Rick Miles' silence on this issue. The assumption that he was able to present the Graham government's case for reversing the previous government decision to his constituents is stretching it. He never did and as several commentators mentioned way back, had he campaigned on this, it may have been a different story.
It would have been nice for this rising star of the legislature to talk to his own people, answer an e-mail or something....

nbpolitico said...

I was not aware he was ignoring constituent emails, if that is true, I suspect his star will stop rising around September 2010.

Anonymous said...

although an extremely nice guy, to suggest he would be in cabinet if the other local members were less well known / competent shows you obviously have never spoken to the man

Anonymous said...

On another factual note, Miles did not win the chairmanship of the cacaus. He was the only person who put his name forward. Arsenault went to Cabinet (former chair); McGinley to Speaker; Roy Boudreau to Deputy Speaker. Everyone else (excluding Kennedy) was to Green to take it on. All this said, Graham and Miles go way back as our new Premier was former bartender in Miles' family bar (Sweetwaters).

To say he was instrumental in Stiles move is funniest thing said all year! Absolutley wrong. Stiles' close personal friend Brian Harquail is former PC party president who had a falling out with Lord. MMMMMM and he lives on the Northside of Fredericton. Well, you can figure the rest out!

Good try though.

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