Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick

Blaine Higgs 2010 New Brunswick general election 2018 New Brunswick general election
Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick
Parti progressiste-conservateur du Nouveau-Brunswick
Active provincial party
LeaderBlaine Higgs
PresidentRick Lafrance
SecretaryJennifer Teed Atkinson
Vice PresidentChris McLaughlin
Representative & Official AgentRobert Hatheway
Founded1867 (1867)
HeadquartersFredericton, New Brunswick
Youth wingPC Youth
Fiscal conservatism
Liberal conservatism
Political positionCentre-right
ColoursBlue, Red, Yellow
Seats in Legislature
27 / 49

The Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick is a centre-right, conservative political party in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The party has its origins in the pre-Canadian confederation Conservative Party that opposed the granting of responsible government to the colony. It has historically followed the Red Tory tradition.[1] The Progressive Conservative Party currently leads the provincial government since 2018 under Premier Blaine Higgs.


Initially, Conservative supporters tended to be United Empire Loyalists and supporters of the business community. In the 1860s, both the Conservative and Liberal parties split over the issue of Canadian confederation, and were replaced by the Confederation Party and the Anti-Confederation Party. By 1870, the pro-Confederation party became generally known as the Liberal-Conservatives or just "Conservatives", and were aligned with the national Conservative Party of Sir John A. Macdonald.

The party was aligned with the historic federal Conservative party. When the federal party changed its name to the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 1942, the New Brunswick party did the same. The federal Progressive Conservative Party dissolved in 2003, in order to merge with the Canadian Alliance and a new Conservative Party of Canada was created. The provincial party has no formal link with the current federal Conservative Party, but several of its members and elected MLAs, including former premier Premier Lord, publicly endorsed the federal party and in some cases its candidates in the 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015 federal elections.

Following the change of government in 2006 provincial election, Bernard Lord resigned as leader on December 13, 2006 and as the member of Moncton East. On December 19, Jeannot Volpé, MLA for Madawaska les Lacs-Edmundston, was selected as interim leader. On October 18, 2008, David Alward, MLA for Carleton, was elected leader of the party at the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick Leadership Convention in Fredericton. Alward beat his only opponent, Robert MacLeod, by a margin of 2,269 votes to 1,760.

The Progressive Conservatives won a sweeping majority, with 42 of 55 seats in the 2010 provincial election. In doing so, PC party leader David Alward became the 32nd Premier of New Brunswick.

In 2013, Saint John area MLA Dr. Jim Parrot Parrott, a retired heart surgeon and former head of the New Brunswick Heart Centre, was kicked out of the caucus after criticizing his government over health issues.

The controversial backbencher had spoken out about bilingualism and duality, and written a newspaper commentary about a lack of consultation with physicians. Before the 2014 election, he was allowed to return [2]

His government was defeated after one term in the 2014 provincial election, after which Alward announced his resignation as party leader. On October 18, 2014, Bruce Fitch was selected as interim leader of the party and Leader of the Opposition of New Brunswick.[3]

2016 to present

Quispamsis MLA Blaine Higgs was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party on October 22, 2016 defeating former Saint John Mayor Mel Norton, 1,563 to 1,169 on the third ballot.[4]

In the 2018 provincial election, Higgs and the PCs won the largest share of seats in the legislature, 22, compared to 21 for the governing Liberal Party of New Brunswick, which opted to attempt to remain in power as a minority government by presenting a Throne Speech in hopes of retaining the confidence of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.[5][6]

On November 2, 2018 the Progressive Conservatives and the People's Alliance combined to defeat Premier Brian Gallant's Liberal minority government via a non confidence vote in the legislature.[7]

Higgs was appointed Premier on November 9, 2018. Higgs and the Progressive Conservatives were re-elected to a majority government in the 2020 provincial election held on September 14, 2020

Ideology and electoral base

The Tories have alternated power with the New Brunswick Liberal Association since Confederation. The party tends to hold a moderate Red Tory stance, being socially and fiscally centrist.[1]

For most of New Brunswick's history, the party had greater support among English speakers, while the Liberals were more popular among Acadians. However, initiatives by the governments of Richard Hatfield and Bernard Lord to include Acadians in the mainstream of New Brunswick life helped the party make inroads in Acadia. In fact, even though he was born in Quebec, former Premier Bernard Lord is widely perceived to be an Acadian, due to his Francophone heritage and the fact that he was raised in Moncton where he attended French language schools and university.

Election results

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
1935 Leonard Tilley 40.2
5 / 48
Increase 5 Increase 2nd Opposition
1939 Frederick Squires 45.0
19 / 48
Increase 14 Steady 2nd Opposition
1944 Hugh Mackay 40.0
12 / 48
Decrease 7 Steady 2nd Opposition
1948 Hugh Mackay 31.2
5 / 52
Decrease 7 Steady 2nd Opposition
1952 Hugh John Flemming 48.9
36 / 52
Increase 31 Increase 1st Majority
1956 Hugh John Flemming 52.2
37 / 52
Increase 1 Steady 1st Majority
1960 Hugh John Flemming 46.2
21 / 52
Decrease 16 Decrease 2nd Opposition
1963 Cyril Sherwood 48.2
20 / 52
Increase 4 Steady 2nd Opposition
1967 Charles Van Horne 47.1
26 / 58
Increase 6 Steady 2nd Opposition
1970 Richard Hatfield 48.4
32 / 58
Increase 6 Increase 1st Majority
1974 Richard Hatfield 145,304 46.9
33 / 58
Increase 1 Steady 1st Majority
1978 Richard Hatfield 44.4
30 / 58
Decrease 3 Steady 1st Majority
1982 Richard Hatfield 47.5
39 / 58
Increase 9 Steady 1st Majority
1987 Richard Hatfield 116,798 28.6
0 / 58
Decrease 39 Decrease 2nd No seats
1991 Dennis Cochrane 85,210 20.7
3 / 58
Increase 3 Decrease 3rd Third party
1995 Bernard Valcourt 120,247 30.9
6 / 55
Increase 3 Increase 2nd Opposition
1999 Bernard Lord 209,008 53.0
44 / 55
Increase 38 Increase 1st Majority
2003 Bernard Lord 174,092 45.5
28 / 55
Decrease 16 Steady 1st Majority
2006 Bernard Lord 177,744 47.5
26 / 55
Decrease 2 Decrease 2nd Opposition
2010 David Alward 181,397 48.8
42 / 55
Increase 16 Increase 1st Majority
2014 David Alward 128,848 34.6
21 / 49
Decrease 21 Decrease 2nd Opposition
2018 Blaine Higgs 121,300 31.8
22 / 49
Increase 1 Increase 1st Minority
2020 Blaine Higgs 147,490 39.3
27 / 49
Increase 5 Steady 1st Majority

Current members of the legislature

Name[8] Electorate First Elected Notes[9][10]
Blaine Higgs Quispamsis 2010 Premier
Andrea Anderson-Mason Fundy-The Isles-Saint John West 2018 Attorney General and Minister of Justice
Bill Oliver Kings Centre 2014 Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
Bruce Fitch Riverview 2003 Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture
Bruce Northrup Sussex-Fundy-St. Martins 2006
Carl Urquhart Carleton-York 2006 Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Dominic Cardy Fredericton West-Hanwell 2018 Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
Dorothy Shephard Saint John Lancaster 2010 Minister of Social Development
Ernie Steeves Moncton Northwest 2014 Minister of Finance and Treasury Board
Gary Crossman Hampton 2014
Glen Savoie Saint John East 2014 Minister responsible for the Francophonie
Jake Stewart Southwest Miramichi-Bay du Vin 2010 Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
Jeff Carr New Maryland-Sunbury 2014 Minister of Environment and Local Government
Mary Wilson Oromocto-Lincoln-Fredericton 2018 Minister of Economic Development and Small Business  
Mike Holland Albert 2018 Minister of Energy and Resource Development
Ross Wetmore Gagetown-Petitcodiac 2010 Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries
Sherry Wilson Moncton Southwest 2010 Minister of Service New Brunswick, Women's Equality
Stewart Fairgrieve Carleton 2015
Ted Flemming Rothesay 2012 Minister of Health
Trevor Holder Portland-Simonds 1999 Minister Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour

Party leaders

See also


  1. ^ a b Johnson, David (2011). Thinking Government: Public Administration and Politics in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 79. ISBN 9781442603967.
  2. ^ "Dr. Jim Parrott rejoins Progressive Conservative caucus | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-09-22.
  3. ^ "New Brunswick Progressive Conservatives choose Bruce Fitch as interim leader". Toronto Star. Canadian Press. October 18, 2014.
  4. ^ "Blaine Higgs wins N.B. PC leadership race on 3rd ballot". CBC News. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  5. ^ Leeder, Jessica (26 September 2018). "Alliances start to form in wake of N.B. election". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  6. ^ Benjamin, Graeme (2018-09-24). "PCs win most seats in N.B. election, Liberals vow to maintain power". Global News. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  7. ^ Poitras, Jacques (2 November 2018). "Brian Gallant's minority government defeated after losing confidence vote". CBC News. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Our MLAs - PCNB". PCNB.
  9. ^ "Here's a full list of Blaine Higgs's new cabinet CBC News". CBC News. November 9, 2018.
  10. ^ McCreadie, Danielle (February 25, 2020). "Francophones question new minister's commitment". CBC. Retrieved February 28, 2020.