New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant delivers his speech at the closure of the Throne Speech at the New Brunswick Legislature in Fredericton on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/James West

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant delivers his speech at the closure of the Throne Speech at the New Brunswick Legislature in Fredericton on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/James West

New Brunswick’s Liberal government falls after throne speech defeated

Premier Brian Gallant told the legislature he would be going to the lieutenant-governor to resign.

New Brunswick’s Liberal government has fallen after losing a confidence vote on its throne speech today.

Premier Brian Gallant told the legislature he would be going to the lieutenant-governor to resign — and to suggest Tory Leader Blaine Higgs be given the opportunity to form government.

He wished the Tories luck, saying: “Their success will be New Brunswick’s success.”

Higgs has said he wants the transition to occur as quickly as possible.

Prior to the vote, Gallant made a final pitch for support with an address closing debate on the throne speech.

He said New Brunswickers voted for change in how political parties govern and he takes full responsibility for the election results.

The Liberals won just 21 seats in the September election – one fewer than the Tories – while the Greens and People’s Alliance each won three seats.

Related: New Brunswick Premier meets with lieutenant-governor as Tories, Liberals vie for power

Related: N.B.’s stealth issue: The language politics of Canada’s only bilingual province

Gallant sought to survive with a minority government by adding many of the opposition’s campaign promises to his party’s throne speech earlier this week, but his party’s fate was sealed Thursday when both the Tories and People’s Alliance said they’d vote to defeat it.

During his speech today, Gallant acknowledged the weeks since the deadlocked election had been “challenging,” but said voters called for a change on how parties govern.

He called for an “agenda of collaboration” no matter which party governed, and admitted he had sometimes fallen into the old partisan ways as premier.

He said it appeared the election results — which saw the Liberals dominate the largely francophone north and the Tories and right-of-centre People’s Alliance do better in the mostly anglophone south — suggested the province is divided along regional and linguistic lines.

But he said people should not be taken in by those apparent divisions.

“What binds us together is greater than what drives us apart … We’re all New Brunswickers.”

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

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