Sunday, May 13, 2012

New Brunswick municipal elections, 2012

Municipal elections will be held in New Brunswick tomorrow to elect mayors and councillors for each of New Brunswick's 105 municipalities. In addition, voters will elect trustees for New Brunswick's five school boards and two regional health authorities. There is also one plebiscite for residents of the Village of Grand Manan about removing the fare for their ferry connecting it to the mainland.

There won't actually be elections in 19 municipalities because in those communities, the entire council was acclaimed. Those were Aroostook, Campobello Island, Dorchester, Eel River Crossing, Harvey, Lac-Baker, Meductic, Nigadoo, Paquetville, Petit-Rocher, Rexton, Riviere-Verte, Rogersville, Saint-Antoine, Saint-Francois-de-Madawaska, St-Hilaire, St. Martins, Stanley, and Tracy.

In the municipalities of Atholville, Baker Brook, Bas-Caraquet, Beresford, Bertrand, Blackville, Bouctouche, Campbellton, Cap-Pele, Chipman, Clair, Dalhousie, Fredericton Junction, Grand Bay-Westfield, Hillsborough, McAdam, Millville, New Maryland, Petitcodiac, Pointe-Verte, Richibucto, Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska, Saint-Leonard, Tracadie-Sheila and Woodstock there are no mayoral races, because the mayoral candidate has been acclaimed, however there are races in some or all of their council seats.

In addition, the municipalities of Alma and Canterbury are only having races for mayor, as the rest of council was acclaimed.

The main three elections are of course in New Brunswick's three largest cities:

Map of Fredericton's 12 wards

In the provincial capital, incumbent mayor Brad Woodside is facing one challenger, Matthew Hayes, an assistant professor at the University of New Brunswick. Woodside has been a long time mayor of Fredericton. He was first elected to that position in 1986. He resigned in 1999, but was re-elected in 2004 and has served has mayor ever since. He resigned in 1999 to run for the Liberals in the provincial election that year. He lost his race in the riding of Fredericton North. Woodside has been accusing his opponent of being connected with the occupy movement.

In addition to the mayoral race, Fredericton is electing 12 other city councillors to represent the city's 12 wards. Three races (wards 1, 3 & 9) are not having elections because the incumbent councillors for those wards are being acclaimed.

Map of Moncton's 4 wards.

In Moncton, incumbent mayor Geoge LeBlanc is running against Carl Bainbridge. LeBlanc has been mayor of Moncton since being first elected in the last municipal election of 2008. He also ran in the 2004 election, where he lost narrowly to then mayor Lorne Mitton. Bainbridge is a driver contractor, who has previously run for the NDP on both the federal and provincial level. He ran in the 2008 federal election in Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe and also ran in the riding of Memramcook-Lakeville-Dieppe in the 2006 provincial election.

There are ten other council seats up for election in Moncton. The city is divided into four wards, which elect two councillor each. In addition, two more councillors are elected at-large. These council seats are elected by “bloc voting”, where voters get two votes, and the top two candidates in each ward get elected.

Saint John
Map of Saint John's 4 wards.

New Brunswick's largest city is having a four-person race for mayor. The real race however, is between two candidates; incumbent mayor Ivan Court and city councillor Mel Norton. Mayor Court was first elected as mayor in the last municipal election of 2008 where he defeated the incumbent, Norm McFarlane (who actually finished 4th). Court previously served as a city councillor. Norton is the newest member of city council, having been elected in a by-election in 2010. Court could be in a lot of trouble, as he has been criticized as allowing a “culture of intimidation” to fester in city council. There has been much criticism of his record, and many are predicting he will lose. The other two candidates are businessman and ordained minister Matthew Thompson and pension activist Joe Callahan.

Saint John, has the same council structure as Moncton. It is divided into four wards, with two councillors each, and two councillors are elected across the city at-large.

Polls close across the province at 8pm Atlantic Time (7pm Eastern). You can find a list of candidates for all positioins here

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