Monday, April 15, 2013

Kent by-election in New Brunswick

A provincial by-election is currently being held in the riding of Kent, New Brunswick, today. (I would have liked to have done a more thorough analysis of the race, but I was pre-empted by the federal Liberal leadership race map. But anyways, I will lay down the need-to-know)


The riding is a rural one, located in Eastern New Brunswick. Its largest community is Bouctouche, a town of 2400 people. The riding is home to three linguistic communities. 55% of the population are Francophone,  one third are English, while 10% of the riding speaks the local Native language, Mi’kmaq (Micmac). The riding extends from the Northumberland Strait in the east into the interior of the province, and consists of two valleys, the Bouctouche River valley in the south, and the Richibucto River valley in the north. The former is home to the French part of the riding, and the latter is Anglophone and is also home to the main Mi’kmaq reserve in the riding, the Elsipogtog First Nation.

The riding was vacated when former Liberal Premier Shawn Graham resigned on March 13. The riding has been in the Graham family since 1967, as his father, Alan served before him. Indeed, the area is a Liberal stronghold, and the riding has voted Liberal in every election since 1917 except for 1971 when one of its then 3 MLAs that got elected was a Tory:

MLAs  since 1917
3 members
P.J. Melanson, Liberal (1917-1925)
A.J. Bordage, Liberal (1917-1944)
A.A. Dysart, Liberal (1917-1940)
R.G. Richard, Liberal (1925-1930)
F.G. Richard, Liberal (1930-1939)
Isaie Melanson, Liberal (1939-1956)
J.K. McKee, Liberal (1940-1952)
Armand Richard, Liberal (1944-1952)
H.A. Dysart, Liberal (1952-1964)
L.J. Robichaud, Liberal (1952-1971)
A.F. Richard, Liberal (1956-1974)
Camille Bordage, Liberal (1964-1967)

Omer Leger, Prog. Cons. (1971-1974)
1 member after 1974
A.R. Graham, Liberal (1967-1998)
S.M. Graham, Liberal (1998-2013)

Poll map, 2010 provincial election

Running for the Liberals this time is their current leader, Brian Gallant, a half-Acadian, half-Dutch New Brunswicker. The Tories are running Jimmy Bourque, a former political staffer who does not live in the riding. The NDP is running Susan Levi-Peters, a former chief of the Elsipogtog First Nation, and the provincial candidate in 2010 and also the federal candidate in 2011.

Interestingly, the Anglophone part of the riding is the more Liberal friendly, as former Premier Graham is an Anglophone from the village of Rexton. The Francophone part of the riding is the more Tory friendly, but in the last provincial election, also went Liberal, but with smaller margins. The Tories won all 5 of their polls in the Bouctouche area. The NDP won 2 polls, both on the Elsipogtog First Nation. More than half of the NDP vote in the riding came from those two polls.

Federally, the riding has seen a similar pattern in recent history. Kent is located in the federal riding of Beausejour, which is also a Liberal riding. The Kent part of the riding was very evenly split in the last election, with the remote interior, and the upper Richibucto Valley going Tory, as well as parts of the Bouctouche area. The Bouctouche Valley actually went Liberal, as well as the lower Richibucto Valley. The Mi’kmaq areas went NDP (both reserves in the riding). Before the 2011 election, the Kent area was much more Liberal friendly, with patterns more closely resembling the provincial patterns.

Polls close at 8pm Atlantic (7 Eastern).

No comments:

Post a Comment