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Susan Holt was voted in as leader of the Liberal Party of New Brunswick on Aug. 6, 2022. Image: Twitter/Liberal Party of New Brunswick

Holt Represents Fresh Approach For N.B. Liberals: Prof

Aug 10, 2022 | 3:02 PM

Susan Holt represents a fresh approach for the Liberal Party of New Brunswick, appealing to a wide range of voters, according to a political science professor at the University of New Brunswick.

Holt, a former business leader and adviser to then-premier Brian Gallant, was voted in as the party’s new leader during its leadership convention held in Fredericton on Aug. 6.

Earning 51.6 per cent of the vote, she is the first woman to be named Liberal party leader.

Donald Wright, who teaches political science at UNB’s Fredericton campus, said Holt’s experience as a political newcomer could help in the long run because she does not carry the baggage of past scandals.

He adds that her fresh approach could help the Liberal party regain its identity.

“The last leader, [Kevin Vickers], struggled to identify himself and what he stood for and what the party stood for, but I don’t think Susan Holt will have that problem,” said Wright in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“She knows who she is, where she stands, and where she wants to take the party, so she will be able to capture some of those progressive-left voters who wandered over to the Green Party and win the Liberals some more seats.”

Wright said Holt’s main challenge would be to find a riding for which to run during the next provincial election, currently scheduled for 2024, as she does not hold a seat in the New Brunswick legislature.

“Fredericton-South is owned by David Coon and the Green Party, Fredericton-Hanwell is Dominic Cardy, and he’s a powerful and important minister in the current government, and Fredericton-North tends to be quite a Conservative riding,” he said.

“So, she will have a hard time finding a riding in the Fredericton area.”

Wright said there is a chance of Holt being able to run in a jurisdiction that is not her home riding, but he said it brings up the question of whether voters would want her there or not. It is risky, but it has been done before, such as at the federal level, Wright said.

“Brian Mulroney was first elected in Nova Scotia and Sir. John A. Macdonald once represented a riding in British Columbia, so it happens in politics,” he said.

“It’s not ideal, but it will be a challenge for her, getting into the legislature and finding a place for her and her ideas.”


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