Restaurants and other foodservice businesses across New Brunswick are operating in a climate of uncertainty in the wake of unstable results from the provincial election.

Here’s What Happened

After all the votes were counted on Sept. 24, the incumbent Liberals had secured 21 seats — one fewer than the Progressive Conservatives. With 49 seats in the legislature, and two smaller parties having snagged three seats each, neither major party has enough seats to form a majority government. Recounts have been called for two seats which were won with less than a dozen votes (voters in the riding of Memramcook-Tantramar elected the Green Party’s Megan Mitton by 11 votes, while Liberal Gerry Lowe won by 10 votes in Saint John Harbour). But the province’s voting machines have previously been shown to produce few errors, so the outcome is unlikely to change.

Government Still TBD

Following unwritten constitutional convention, Liberal Premier Brian Gallant will attempt to form a government sometime later this month, by recalling the legislature and testing the confidence of the newly elected members with a vote. Gallant has said he will convene the legislature for a throne speech by Oct. 23 at the latest.

In the meantime, Progressive Conservative Leader Blaine Higgs is attempting to gain support from the Green Party, which increased its existing seat count by two during the election, and the People’s Alliance, which will be represented in the legislative assembly for the first time, so that his party can form government if the Liberals lose the confidence vote.

How Will This Impact the Foodservice Sector?

On the one hand, many restaurateurs are breathing a sigh of relief; the political deadlock will stop the Liberals from being able to follow through on their election campaign commitment to raise the minimum wage to $14 per hour.

On the other hand, the lack of a stable government will hinder the province’s ability to make any meaningful progress on key issues impacting foodservice operations, such as spiralling premiums that businesses are paying for workers’ compensation insurance.

The Only Thing for Certain

While it is yet to be seen which party will form the next government, and how long that government will last, Restaurants Canada is committed to work with all parties to ensure that the voice of foodservice continues to be heard loud and clear.

Make Your Voice Heard

A thriving restaurant and foodservice industry is critical to the wellbeing of every community in New Brunswick. If you agree, we encourage you to learn more about the key issues that we rallied around during the election campaign and help us continue to engage the province’s newly elected representatives. Together we can make a difference.

 

If you have any questions or would like more information, you can get in touch with Luc Erjavec,
Restaurants Canada Vice President, Atlantic Canada, at lerjavec@restaurantscanada.org or 1-800-387-5649 ext. 5000.

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