Thursday, September 4, 2014
People's Alliance New Brunswick
PANB was founded, partly, in response to proposals to sell NB Power, the local power system.
The party, nominally moderate and somewhat populist, has policies like this that reveal a bit of it's true colour.
The party's official 2014 platform includes "common sense" ideas, and many other indicators of their position on the political spectrum.
Finally, the simple vote patterns of the party - where they do well and where they do not - reveal the final piece of the puzzle.
PANB is the unofficial successor to the Confederation of Regions party.
Thus, I will treat it as such.
The Confederation of Regions was founded at around the same time, and due to many of the same reasons, as the Reform Party of Canada. The Confederation of Regions party itself, on a federal level, is older than the Reform Party, performing well (for a small party) in Western Canada in the 1984 election. The party managed 2.2% in Alberta, 1.3% in Saskatchewan, and 6.7% in Manitoba. In 1988, with it's western voters going Reform, the party had it's top showing be a 4.3% in New Brunswick. This prompted the founding of the provincial party.
CoR was, at it's core, "Anti-French". It's bilingualism stance played well to some Anglophone New Brunswickers who felt they were getting a raw deal. Not everyone was against Francophones however, as the hard right-wing policies of the party were also a main selling point.
In 1987 the PC government of Richard Hatfield fell apart in a manner so spectacular, it makes Kim Campbell look like a political genius. Taking 28.59% of the vote, the PC Party failed to win a single seat, allowing Frank McKenna's Liberals to win all 58 seats on 60.39% of the vote.
Following the aforementioned success of the CoR federally in 1988, the party set up to run provincially. Expectations were the party might take 1 or 2 seats, as the party had a few star candidates up it's sleeve. On Election night however they shocked just about everyone by taking 8 seats on 21.2% of the vote, finishing ahead of the Tories with only 3 seats on 20.7% of the vote, and thus grabbing the Official Opposition.
This map from Wikipedia, created by yours truly, show how this election was an example of a "divided right" situation
One thing the map shows is that by combining PC and CoR votes, the party wins many seats. Many seats, that is, in English New Brunswick. The CoR was an Anglophone party.
The leader of the CoR failed to get elected, and squabbles broke out between the various factions within the party. If you are interested in this period I suggest reading The Right Fight by Jacques Poitras, a book I bought to learn more about Bernard Lord (something the book is not the best for) and ended up learning far more about the CoR and Richard Hatfield (amazing resource for this) By the next election in 1995, the CoR had torn itself apart, and it failed to elect a single member.
PANB, while not the CoR, does share the same voter base. No CoR candidate has run for PANB, but I would say there is a good chance many of them will vote PANB.
So, what are the current prospects of PANB? In short, not good. The party only realistically has a shot at winning in a single riding, Fredericton-Grand Lake, where Kris Austin, the leader is running. The poll numbers I mentioned earlier however do give me a few seats beyond that, as seen in these two maps:
The ElectoMatic file for this prediction can be found here:
You'll note that this is a very "lite" version, and you will need to pick each riding winner yourself, the program is not set up to automatically indicate the winner as that's one of the most script-heavy parts of the program itself.