Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Prime Minister Blaine Higgs floated the possibility of a snap election last September.

New Brunswick: election rumors cost $1.7 million

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Blaine Higgs was first elected to lead a minority government in 2018. In 2020, he obtained a majority. (Archive photo)

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Early election rumors last fall cost taxpayers just over $1.75 million, according to New Brunswick's chief electoral officer.

In September, Prime Minister Blaine Higgs floated the possibility of a snap general election. It wasn't until November 3 that he said there wouldn't be one.

Kim Poffenroth, the Chief Electoral Officer , explains in a letter to the Standing Committee on Procedure, Privileges and Senior Officials of the Legislative Assembly, why his office smashed its budget this year.

Elections New Brunswick spent $1,750,808 last year for the rental of polling stations, returning offices, for training of returning officers, and for the connection of Internet service and telephone lines.< /p>LoadingPatrick Roy named head coach of the New York Islanders

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The whole thing became useless when we knew there would be no elections. When a vote finally takes place, Elections New Brunswick will have to pay again for these services.

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Kim Poffenroth is the Chief Electoral Officer of New Brunswick. (File photo)

The next general election in New Brunswick must be held no later than October 21, 2024 — barring an election anticipated.

On the other hand, Kim Poffenroth specifies that other expenses of around $1.5 million last fall are not lost. This money was used to equip itself with electronic tabulation machines and laptop computers, which can be used this year.

Kim Poffenroth says he has not had no choice but to keep his office ready for an imminent election call this fall because of the uncertainty about it that persisted for weeks.

No directive has come to contradict these rumors, she writes. In reality, statements made in the media fueled speculation, leaving Elections New Brunswick with no choice but to hasten its preparations to hold an unscheduled provincial general election.

In Fredericton, the leader of the official opposition protests that the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party wasted $1.75 million.

Meanwhile, our health care system is in crisis, the cost of living continues to rise and our education system is woefully under-resourced, Liberal Leader Susan Holt wrote Friday on X. p>

This is another example of Higgs' fiscal irresponsibility, she concluded.Open in full screen mode

Liberal leader Susan Holt (right), last Wednesday.

Steve Outhouse, the election campaign director of the Progressive Conservative Party, responded to her on the same platform that she declared at a press conference last fall that it was time to call an election.

In fact, it was Blaine Higgs who first threatened to call a snap election on September 15. Susan Holt had initially repeated that New Brunswickers did not want it.

Weeks later, saying she wanted a clear answer on the possibility of an election, Susan Holt's Liberals tabled a motion of no confidence in the Legislative Assembly. On October 27, the motion was rejected by the House.

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Since an election could be called at any time last fall, Elections New Brunswick had to rent offices which were ultimately not used. In this photo, a polling station for the municipal elections in May 2021.

The Chief Electoral Officer reiterated that the duty of Elections New Brunswick was to be ready to organize a free and fair election. She believes that her office acted responsibly and effectively.

Kim Poffenroth said she was ready to testify before a parliamentary committee to answer questions from elected officials about these decisions and expenses.

I recognize that there are things over which I have control, and over which I am responsible. Likewise, there are things that other people have control over and are responsible for, she wrote in her letter.

Based on the report by Jacques Poitras ofCBC

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