The leader of New Brunswick’s Conservative Party has delivered what he admits is a prelude to his party’s platform ahead of September’s provincial election.
Blaine Higgs addressed supporters and members of the Saint John business community in an event hosted by the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce Thursday.
He told the crowd New Brunswick is in economic trouble.
“We have a province that’s essentially on fire and we need all hands on deck to fix it,” Higgs said.
The leader of the official opposition says he drove home a message critical of Liberal spending. He calls it buying votes and not something he could invest in as premier.
“Politics at its worst,” Higgs said.
“I really want people to realize that if they’re expecting to see just an endless stream of tax dollar spending, they’re not going to see it.”
Higgs didn’t mention Premier Brian Gallant by name but pointed to recent Liberal spending commitments across the province he says total about $$3 billion.
Political observers say Higgs was hardly going rogue by railing against Liberal spending.
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“Going after (a) tax and spend Liberal party is a pretty traditional lane to fill for a Progressive Conservative leader,” said UNB Saint John political scientist J.P. Lewis.
But Lewis says with an election just over seven months away, traditional criticisms may not cut it. Higgs will have to clarify just what kind of leader he is.
“Even though Higgs was a minister of finance, he still needs to introduce himself as a leader and premier in waiting,” Lewis explained. “I think getting out those messages that put some distance between him and Gallant and the Liberals will be significant.”
New Brunswickers are set to head to the polls Sept. 24.
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