Photo-finish election claims New Brunswick’s ag minister

New Brunswick’s incumbent agriculture minister is among the Liberal cabinet members knocked out of office in Monday night’s too-close-to-call provincial election.

Final results from Elections New Brunswick put Progressive Conservative candidate Robert Gauvin ahead of Agriculture, Mines and Rural Affairs Minister Wilfred Roussel by a spread of 99 votes in his northeastern riding of Shippagan-Lameque-Miscou.

Roussel, a former newspaper publishing executive, journalist and orchard and cider mill owner, had most recently served as mayor of his Acadian Peninsula hometown of Le Goulet before entering provincial politics in 2014. He was named agriculture minister in May this year.

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He was among several sitting MLAs to be unseated Monday night as Brian Gallant’s incumbent Liberals were knocked down to 21 seats. Blaine Higgs’ Tories took 22 seats and the Green and People’s Alliance parties took three each.

It was still unclear Tuesday morning which party will form New Brunswick’s next government. While Higgs’ Tories earned the most seats, reporters on Monday night quoted Gallant as saying he would try to retain a minority government by working with the third parties on a vote-by-vote basis.

Andrew Harvey, the Liberals’ ag minister before Roussel, held his riding of Carleton-Victoria on Monday night by a spread of 244 votes over Tory challenger Margaret Johnson.

Another previous Liberal ag minister, Rick Doucet, lost his seat of Fundy-The Isles-Saint John West to Tory challenger Andrea Anderson-Mason by a spread of 1,386 votes.

Among other upsets, former Tory agriculture critic Kirk MacDonald lost his seat in the Fredericton-York riding to People’s Alliance candidate Rick Desaulniers by a spread of 256 votes. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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