[lg policy] New Brunswick People's Alliance wins 3 seats in 'significant breakthrough'

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Wed Sep 26 10:26:15 EDT 2018

= New Brunswick <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick>
People's Alliance wins 3 seats in 'significant breakthrough'

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Leader Kris Austin taps into rural frustration, populism to win 3 seats at
the table
Karissa Donkin · CBC News · Posted: Sep 24, 2018 8:31 PM AT | Last Updated:
September 25
People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin formed the party in 2010, aiming to
capture the attention of voters disenchanted with the traditional parties.
(Jonathan Collicott/CBC News)

Fuelled by populism and a desire for change, the People's Alliance
has won three seats in the legislature.

The People's Alliance and Green Party are poised to wield a significant
amount of power and influence in what CBC News is projecting to be the
first minority government in almost 100 years.

"We're going to make New Brunswick better than it's ever been," People's
Alliance Leader Kris Austin told the crowd at his headquarters on
Fredericton's north side on Monday night.

   - *FULL COVERAGE: CBC News projects a minority government
   - *After years on the fringe, People's Alliance ready to take next step

Austin won his riding of Fredericton-Grand Lake by a large margin,
defeating incumbent Progressive Conservative Pam Lynch on his third bid for
a seat. Austin lost the riding by only 26 votes in 2014.

The party also won seats in Miramichi, with Michelle Conroy toppling
Liberal cabinet minister Bill Fraser, and in Fredericton-York, where
Rick Desaulniers defeated PC incumbent Kirk MacDonald.

The party came second in seven other ridings, including a nail-biter in
Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin. Art O'Donnell lost to incumbent Progressive
Conservative Jake Stewart by only 35 votes.
CBC News
New Brunswick election night in 90 seconds
00:00 01:40
As PCs claim victory, Liberals try to hold onto power. 1:40

It's a stunning rise for a party that captured only 2.1 per cent of the
vote in 2014.

Austin has pledged to work with any party that wants to work with him, but
said the party won't sacrifice its "values and ideals" that gave them a
"significant breakthrough" in this election.

"We're willing to compromise in certain areas to make government work," he
told CBC News.

When asked if he would compromise on the party's stance on language policy,
Austin said it depends on what part of language policy is up for debate.

"Are we talking paramedics? Probably not."

Austin has described his party's approach to language as "common sense" and
said he would eliminate the province's official languages commissioner.
CBC News
People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin’s celebratory speech
00:00 04:15
People’s Alliance Party Leader Kris Austin wins his riding of
Fredericton-Grand Lake. 4:15

But Austin has maintained that his party is not anti-French.

"What we don't support is the current way it's being implemented," he said.

"We want a balanced approach."
Party formed in 2010

The People's Alliance was co-founded by Austin and Sterling Wright in 2010
after the former Liberal government's failed plan to sell parts of NB Power
to Hydro-Québec.
People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin poses for photo before voting Monday.
Austin is projected to make history Monday by capturing one of the party's
first ever seats. (CBC)

Driven by what Austin described at the time as voter frustration, the party
branded itself as an alternative for people who are tired of electing
traditional parties.

Austin filled out the paperwork to form the party just a few months before
the 2010 election.

"Things are coming to a climax that the people of the province are fed up
with the political system, they are fed up with the current government and
they don't see any option in any of the other parties," Austin told CBC
News in 2010.

In 2014, the party fielded 18 candidates, but only Austin — a former deputy
mayor of Minto — came anywhere close to capturing a seat. Most finished in
last place.

   - *Flood could sway election for voters in Fredericton-Grand Lake*

This time around, the party nominated 30 candidates, still 19 short of a
full slate.

But the party's rise hasn't come without controversy.

Beyond the language issue, Austin has also been pressed to explain some of
his candidates' social media posts
including posts about 9/11 conspiracy theories and criticism of gay pride
Harnessing rural voter frustration

The party's campaign focused on harnessing frustration in rural ridings,
capturing voters who feel left out and disenchanted.
Austin delivered the party platform in Riverview to about a dozen
supporters earlier this month. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

That is exactly the message Conroy said she heard from voters at the door
in her riding of Miramichi.

"People want change," she said. "They've spoken."

The party promised to end "corporate handouts" and remove "burdensome
taxes," including the small business tax.

   - *Chips, booze and lumber: A whirlwind trip with Kris Austin*

It also pledged to ban glyphosate spraying on Crown lands and to cut the
"size and percentage" of clear-cutting in forests.

With Austin and Green Party Leader David Coon both winning seats, New
Brunswick will have representatives from four parties in the legislature.

That hasn't happened since 1991, when both the NDP and the now-defunct
Confederation of Regions held seats.

"We're making history," party co-founder Wright said Monday night.

Voters bought into the party's promise of "common sense," he said.

"People realized the province needs change."

 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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