External Shocks and Westminster Executive Governance: New Brunswick’s All-Party Cabinet Committee on COVID-19

Article 8 / 14 , Vol 43 No 3 (Autumn)

External Shocks and Westminster Executive Governance: New Brunswick’s All-Party Cabinet Committee on COVID-19

This research note compares the responses of Canadian provincial cabinet governments to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic health crisis with a focus on New Brunswick’s unique and somewhat exceptional formation of an all party cabinet committee on COVID-19 in March 2020. The article reviews the responses of provincial cabinets to the pandemic with special attention to their relationship to opposition parties and leaders. While the Savoie thesis has dominated Canadian understanding of cabinet governance, we suggest that centralization of power is only one likely feature and not the dominant feature of cabinet government. With our findings of the current cases, we argue that the defining characteristic of cabinet government in Westminster systems is its “flexibility of method”1
and “capacity for change”.2

The article concludes that the New Brunswick response, without further qualitative study, remains a mystery, as the political climate in the province leading up to the pandemic possessed all the traits of a highly partisan, electorally volatile institutional environment.

J.P. Lewis and Robert Burroughs

This research note compares the responses of Canadian provincial cabinet governments to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic health crisis with a focus on New Brunswick’s unique and somewhat exceptional formation of an all-party cabinet committee on COVID-19 in March 2020. The article reviews the responses of provincial cabinets to the pandemic with special attention to their relationship to opposition parties and leaders. While the Savoie thesis has dominated Canadian understanding of cabinet governance, we suggest that centralization of power is only one likely feature and not the dominant feature of cabinet government. With our findings of the current cases, we argue that the defining characteristic of cabinet government in Westminster systems is its “flexibility of method”1 and “capacity for change”.2 The article concludes that the New Brunswick response, without further qualitative study, remains a mystery, as the political climate in the province leading up to the pandemic possessed all the traits of a highly partisan, electorally volatile institutional environment.

Background

The idea of a dynamic and flexible Westminster-style cabinet is not a new observation; depictions of the institution as defined by these characteristics are found in early Canadian cabinet research. Bill Matheson, in his noted 1976 book The Prime Minister and Cabinet, argued that the cabinet system had a “capacity for change”.3 Decades before him, in 1946, former Clerk of the Privy Council Arnold Heeney observed that Canadian cabinet had a “flexibility of method”.4 This perception of cabinet as a dynamic political decision-making body has been lost to the focus on centralization as the defining institutional feature. Cabinet is a highly malleable and fluid institution; the evolution of cabinet governance is a collision of institutional path dependency, personal political style, and unavoidable external shocks. Any pattern or trend of centralization or decentralization of power and decision-making can be accelerated, reduced or paused. Yes, first ministers as political actors are unrivaled in power within the Westminster system. Still, the possibility of institutional reform is the attraction of cabinet to first minsters.

While academics have routinely focused on first ministers’ style and approach to cabinet governance,5 there is a notable gap to further pursue the late Christopher Dunn’s work6 on the institutionalized cabinet and the ever-evolving processes and structures of cabinet committee arrangements. As federal and provincial cabinets have increased in size, cabinet committees have become the core decision-making bodies in our system and require more study.7 Powerful standing central cabinet committees modeled after Pierre Trudeau’s Priorities and Planning Committee are normally the focus of research on cabinet committees. Yet, ad-hoc, issue-based, and consequential cabinet committees modelled after Robert Borden’s War Cabinet Committee have become a common coordinating tool for first ministers. Some notable contemporary federal examples include Brian Mulroney’s Canadian Unity and Constitutional Negotiations committee (1991-1993), Jean Chretien’s National Unity committee (1995) and more recently, Justin Trudeau’s committee on Canada-United States relations. An obvious feature within these cabinet committees is that they are composed of members from a sole party. Coalition cabinets or cabinet committees that include opposition members are of the rarest kind in Canadian politics. Confederation and World War I were two notable times that opposition members were sworn into the Privy Council to serve in the government. In both cases, transformative events brought about dramatic institutional design change. The COVID-19 crisis has brought one Canadian province, New Brunswick, to this new and historic governing bargain. The following section will briefly review other provincial responses across Canada before moving to the New Brunswick case in more detail.

How Canadian provincial cabinets responded to the COVID-19

The first days of COVID-19 reaching Canada collided with provincial budget season and quickly turned to most legislatures suspending sittings. Provincial legislatures and governments navigated these developments in varying ways. Most provincial cabinets maintained a routine cabinet government during the COVID-19 crisis. Some have invited opposition members to all-party legislative or cabinet level committees but only New Brunswick has sworn the opposition members into their COVID-19 cabinet committee.

Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Nova Scotia have demonstrated a more congenial path, at least in the early days of the crisis8. In both Alberta and Manitoba, the opposition was less than cooperative in supporting the budget and the governments were less than collegial in their legislative truce9. For the purposes of this article, we will be more closely examining the responses of British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island—all of which have minority governments and each of which produced a different governing arrangement, indicating a flexibility of the cabinet system. The table below outlines the legislative and electoral situation in each of these provinces:

The degree of cooperation in each of these provinces has been just as unpredictable as the pandemic, in part due to the high election speculation on both coasts in the lead-up to the COVID-19 crisis. On the east coast, the survival of the governments in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador were particularly threatened. In all these cases, the necessity to manage the COVID-19 crisis allowed the government to avoid spring elections. The supply and confidence agreement in British Columbia and agreement between the governing Progressive Conservatives and the People’s Alliance in New Brunswick both ended by late summer as the respective premiers went to lieutenant-governors to ask for elections. However, the latter province’s all-party cabinet committee arguably negated the need for such an agreement. General public satisfaction with government responses to COVID-19 suggested that elections in the short-term were unlikely.12

In British Columbia, the party leaders issued a joint statement on a financial aid package. Liberal (and opposition) leader Andrew Wilkinson said, “this is no time for political bickering and attacks”.13 In terms of formal legislative or cabinet responses, only Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick formed new all-party legislative or executive bodies. Newfoundland and Labrador’s Dwight Ball-led government created an all-party committee that includes the Liberal premier, Official Opposition Progressive Conservative leader Ches Crosbie, and New Democratic leader Alison Coffin.14 On Prince Edward Island, Official Opposition Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker and Liberal Leader Sonny Gallant were included in the government’s “COVID-19 response table”; as well, each leader has been included in cabinet committee working groups as the legislature has been suspended.15 Notably compared to New Brunswick, on P.E.I., the opposition members were not sworn-in as they were in New Brunswick.

Not surprisingly, as time passed and the management requirements of the pandemic evolved from containment/elimination to recovery efforts, the need for each of these special legislative arrangements shifted and the politics followed. On Prince Edward Island, the relative legislative truce ended over allowing seasonal residents into the province at the beginning of June.16 In Nova Scotia, the premier rejected the opposition’s request for an all-party committee; in its place, the government maintained that opposition leaders were being kept in the loop, but Progressive Conservative leader Tim Houston described the meetings as “staff level…one-way discussions”.17 The Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal party delayed their leadership contest to August 3, 2020, meaning that the province has a new (and extraparliamentary) premier in the midst of the pandemic. This situation could change the dynamics of any legislative arrangement currently in place.

Elsewhere in the country, provincial executive and legislative bodies were also adapting: in Quebec, the premier completed a major cabinet shuffle including moving his health minister, a reflection of the province’s struggles with the outbreak compared to the rest of Canada. In Saskatchewan, congeniality appeared to evaporate as NDP Leader of the Opposition Ryan Meili accused the government of running a “one-party state” and in another setting Meili had to apologize after making an obscene gesture in the legislature.18 By early May, provincial legislatures began to sit again starting with Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Yet, the sittings were anything but normal and included social distancing within the chambers or remote online workarounds.

While New Brunswick was mostly ahead of the provincial pack in terms of managing the pandemic and moving through health restriction phases back to normal, the legislative session was anything but regular. After the pandemic hit in mid-March, the New Brunswick legislature rose on April 17 to return on May 5 with “double-decker” sittings for social distancing; a normal return was attempted on May 26 only to be abruptly halted by an outbreak of COVID-19 in the northern Campbellton region of the province. After sitting again after the outbreak subsided, the legislature adjourned for the summer on June 18th but the all-party COVID-19 committee continued to meet.19

New Brunswick’s All-Party Cabinet Committee on COVID-19

On March 12, 2020, one day after the first presumptive case of COVID-19 in New Brunswick was announced, Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs formed the all-party cabinet committee on COVID-19.20 The committee’s membership included the premier, Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart, Health Minister Ted Flemming, Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard, education minister Dominic Cardy, and the leaders of the Liberal, Green, and People’s Alliance parties: Kevin Vickers, David Coon, and Kris Austin. The committee’s mandate was to “meet regularly to ensure members are involved in providing ongoing leadership, co-ordination and preparedness in responding to the health and economic impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”.21

While unanticipated crises and external shocks can produce unexpected and unusual institutional arrangements, the political scene of New Brunswick in early 2020 gave no sign of this level of collaboration.22 Just two days earlier, Vickers and the majority of opposition MLAs were intent on rejecting the budget and promised to “defeat this government at the earliest opportunity”.23 By the end of that week, the opposition party leaders were sworn into cabinet and the Legislative Assembly completed the normally-months long estimates process in an extraordinary 17 minutes of parliamentary theatre before recessing “until further notice”.24

Green Leader David Coon, who posted the video of his swearing-in on his Facebook page gave the first indication of how the committee functioned:

On Friday evening I was sworn into the Cabinet Committee on COVID-19 and we immediately got down to work over three hours. I was part of the decision to close schools for at least the next two weeks, and was actively engaged on all the agenda items with question and suggestions. The atmosphere was serious but collegial. We will meet at least weekly.

By mid-March, the all-party cabinet committee was meeting almost daily for hour-and-a-half meetings.25 All three opposition leaders have publicly praised the process. People’s Alliance Leader Kris Austin noted, “On the one hand we can easily criticize, but on the other hand when we’re sitting at the table, helping make these decisions, it kind of takes away from the criticism”.26 Austin observing, “Our opinions are changing the course of decisions. When we raise issues, we’re not being blown off”.27 Vickers said, “It’s been very collaborative, it’s been very constructive and I think it serves New Brunswick well”28 even though he also remained committed to defeating the government.29 Green Leader David Coon said: “I clearly see things that have been brought to me that I’ve brought forward, that are being addressed. I’m seeing things that I’m proposing being taken on board. I see results. I see all of my questions being answered honestly”.30 Premier Blaine Higgs noted the all-party cabinet committee is “amazing, gratifying…that’s inspiring in its own right…the guns are really down, politically”.31 The committee approved school closures, postponed municipal elections (and the byelection in which Vickers was expected to participate), and endorsed an emergency declaration.32 Notably, this was not a simple consultative group; Coon, Higgs and Vickers (who notably does not have a seat in the legislature) were sworn into the provincial equivalent of the Privy Council and were bound by those confidences. Resultingly, their deliberations were entirely confidential, even from their own caucus mates. New Brunswick’s go-to political expert – renowned political scientist and cabinet expert Donald Savoie – supported the all-party cabinet committee as a response to the COVID crisis. “Nobody could point fingers because they were all on the same committee, sworn to secrecy, and they became part of the process, he commented.33

As New Brunswick’s situation remained stable compared to other jurisdictions and the province moved through various stages of public health restrictions, new challenges emerged for the government and COVID cabinet committee. In late April, David Coon called for a discussion on reinstating “a more or less fully functioning legislature”34 and weeks later Kevin Vickers expressed the limitations of the arrangement:

The four political leaders on the COVID-19 cabinet committee have been for the most part very much on the same page on the steps that have been taken to protect public health. However, the committee cannot serve as a replacement for the legislature, or the role our elected officials must play moving forward in discussing the best path forward to recovery…The COVID committee can’t be used as a place where good ideas go to die. We need to have a frank and open discussion about how to help our economy. It should be a public discussion and exchange of ideas, not four men operating under a cloak of secrecy on a committee that ultimately has no decision-making authority.35

Similar to the experience on Prince Edward Island, one of the first major issues to break the relative peace in New Brunswick’s legislature was the pending arrival of temporary foreign workers—central to the food processing and farm industry in the province. The government initially banned the entrance of temporary foreign workers. To complicate matters, and indeed the basic tenets of constitutional conventions such as ministerial responsibility, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries absolved himself from the decision, claiming that it was made “not by me, not by our government, but a committee, a COVID-19 cabinet committee”.36 He even went on, in response to questions from opposition legislators, to argue that they ought to speak with their own party leaders instead. The ban was eventually reversed and while the decision-making discussions are protected by cabinet confidentiality, both Kevin Vickers and David Coon challenged the idea that there was a consensus on the decision.

Further evidence that the committee’s own workings were becoming increasingly problematic, both from an operational and oversight perspective, is found in Vickers’s criticism of the development of the Atlantic travel bubble37 on July 11. In response, the Premier simply stated that, “He [Vickers] wasn’t at the [COVID-19 cabinet] meeting on June 25”.38 Higgs also added that, “in all fairness, [Vickers is] finding it difficult. He’s probably getting a lot of grief from his colleagues. I think this process has worked well, I think it has been a key to our success in the COVID crisis. But…you see the signs of the cracks in the wall, and I think he’s getting a lot of pressure from his members to break out and try to find fault.”39

By mid-summer, with the prospect of three by-elections in the fall and the balance of power at stake (20 PCs, 20 Liberals, 3 PA, 3 Green, 1 Independent) election speculation heated up. After failed all-party negotiations on a supply and confidence agreement that could have lasted well into 2022, Blaine Higgs called a snap election on August 17. The all-party cabinet committee was no more.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a health and economic crisis with no precedent in the 21st century. It has placed spotlights on provincial governments as laboratories of institutional innovation and change. While the majority of provinces have maintained legislative and executive business as relatively usual (outside of the suspension of legislative sessions), three provinces (NB, NL, PEI) have pursued exceptional changes of all-party coordination with one province (NB) partaking in extraordinary change. When New Brunswick’s legislature adjourned for the summer, it left limited means for its members to hold the decisions of the all-party cabinet committee to account. As mentioned earlier, even members of the committee, notably Coon and Vickers, raised concern of the oversight and accountability for this unique executive-legislative arrangement. While exceptional circumstances can bring exceptional changes to institutions, normative questions on these cases requires further exploration. While the changes explored by provinces to manage the initial containment of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be permanent, the variance in governance responses reflect the fundamental element of cabinet government in Canada—its “capacity for change” and “flexibility of method”.

Notes

1 A.D.P. Heeney. “Cabinet Government in Canada: Some Recent Developments in the Machinery of the Central Executive.” Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, 12 (1946): 282-301.

2 W.A. Matheson, The Prime Minister and the Cabinet, Methuen: Toronto, 1976.

3 Ibid., 84.

4 Ibid., 282

5 Donald Savoie. Governing from the centre: The Concentration of Power in Canadian Politics. University of Toronto Press: Toronto, 1999; Patrice Dutil. Prime Ministerial Power in Canada: Its Origins under Macdonald, Laurier, and Borden. UBC Press: Vancouver, 2017; Ian Brodie. At the Centre of Government: The Prime Minister and the Limits on Political Power. McGill-Queen’s University Press: Montreal: 2018.

6 Christopher Dunn. The Institutionalized Cabinet: Governing the Western Provinces. McGill-Queen’s University Press: Montreal, 1995.

7 Luc Bernier, Keith Brownsey and Michael Howlett. “Conclusion: Executive Institutional Development in Canada’s Provinces.” Executive Styles in Canada: Cabinet Structures and Leadership Practices in Canadian Government edited by L. Bernier, K. Brownsey & M. Howlett. University of Toronto Press Toronto, 245-250; Colin Campbell. “Cabinet committees in Canada: pressures and dysfunctions stemming from the representational imperative.” In Mackie, T. and Hogwood, B. (eds) Unlocking the Cabinet: Cabinet Structures in Comparative Perspective edited by T. Mackie & B. Hogwood. Sage: London, 1985. 61-85.

8 In Saskatchewan, Official Opposition leader Ryan Meili noted, “We have a common enemy and that’s the virus.” (Murray Mandryk. “Our politicians have chosen to be better in crisis.” Regina Leader Post, March 18, 2020. A7). The Ontario government engaged in “unusual” lengthy briefings for the opposition on emergency legislation to protect frontline workers (CBC News. “COVID-19 in Ontario: 43 new cases, 2nd coronavirus-linked death reported in Halton Region.” March 19, 2020 Accessed at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/coronavirus-covid-19-ontario-thursday-emergency-bill-1.5502527). Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservative Opposition Leader tweeted that the party would stop “the production and release of all original content to avoid complicating public discourse” (Eric Grenier. “As governments grapple with COVID-19, what’s the role for the opposition?” CBC News. March 21, 2020. Accessed at https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-covid19-opposition-parties-1.5503455). After early signs of non-partisanship, by mid-April the Quebec Liberals were more critical of the Francois Legault government in response to the “horror” at long-term care facilities. Liberal interim-leader Pierre Arcand wrote an open letter on mounting deaths in the homes (Canadian Press. “Liberals say Legault must give a full account of situation in long-term care centres.” Montreal Gazette. April 13, 2020. Accessed at https://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/liberals-say-legault-must-give-a-full-account-of-situation-in-long-term-care-centres/).

9 After a very brief truce and cooperation over the Alberta government’s financial aid package Premier Jason Kenney complained, “Given the crisis with which we are dealing, which is deteriorating seriously by the hour today, I will no longer tolerate that kind of divisive and dishonest rhetoric from the leader of the opposition…It’s like they’re living on a different planet than most Albertans, Mr. Speaker. Listen to that: the heckling, the division, the derision…To the NDP: please stop trying to scare people in the midst of a crisis” (Graham Thomson. “Alberta’s partisan politics immune to the COVID-19 pandemic,” iPolitics. March 19, 2020. Accessed at https://ipolitics.ca/2020/03/19/albertas-partisan-politics-immune-to-the-covid-19-pandemic/). In Manitoba, the NDP delayed the government’s budget for more than a week through legislative tactics (see Grenier).

10 The resignation of Green Party leader Andrew Weaver in January 2020 prompted a leadership race, ahead of which the outgoing Weaver noted that, “In theory a new leader would not be bound by [confidence and supply agreement]” that he negotiated with the NDP in 2017 (Rob Shaw. “B.C. parties prep for possible 2020 election as Green leadership race ramps up instability.” Vancouver Sun. January 3, 2020. Accessed at https://vancouversun.com/news/politics/parties-prepare-for-possibility-of-spring-election-as-green-leadership-changes/). The interim party leader Adam Olsen pledged to maintain the agreement until a new leader is elected, which is not expected to be concluded until Summer 2020 at the earliest, indicating that an election would not be likely until late in the year (Shaw, 2020).

11 In February Dwight Ball announced his intention to resign as premier, triggering not only a leadership race for his Liberal Party but discussion that a coalition of opposition, independent, and even Liberal members of the House of Assembly might attempt to unseat what was left of Ball’s government (Drew Brown, “Deflated but Unbroken, Dwight Ball Finally Bounces,” The Independent. February 21, 2020. Accessed at https://theindependent.ca/2020/02/21/deflated-but-unbroken-dwight-ball-finally-bounces/; Malone Mullin. “Dwight Ball stepping down as Newfoundland and Labrador premier,” CBC News. February 17, 2020. Accessed at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/dwight-ball-steps-down-1.5466521).

12 Leger. “COVID-19 Tracking Survey Results.” April 13, 2020. Accessed at https://leger360.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/COVID-19-Tracking-Study-April-14-2020.pdf; Research Co. 2020 Public Approval for Handling of COVID-19 Improves in Canada. April 14, 2020. Accessed at https://researchco.ca/wpcontent/uploads/2020/04/Release_Poli_COVID19_CAN_14Apr¬_020.pdf)

13 Mike Smyth, “Opposition politicians strive for relevance in the world of coronavirus,” Global News. April 2, 2020. Accessed at https://globalnews.ca/news/6762217/coronavirus-opposition-politics-canada/

14 David Maher, “House of Assembly passes COVID-19 pandemic response bill.” The Telegram. March 26, 2020

15 Kerry Campbell. Opposition says it’s still holding P.E.I. – you just can’t see it. CBC News. April 7, 2020 Accessed at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-legislature-covid-accountability-1.5524591

16 Nicole Williams. “Opposition hammers P.E.I. government on decision to let in seasonal residents.” CBC News. May 26, 2020.

17 Jean Laroche. 2020. “Should Nova Scotia reopen the legislature during the COVID-19 pandemic?” CBC News, April 15, 2020. Accessed at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/nova-scotia-legislature-province-house-accountability-politics-1.5531447

18 Adam Hunter. “Saskatchewan NDP Leader apologizes for obscene gesture directed at government MLAs inside assembly.” CBC News. June 18, 2020; Adam Hunter. “Saskatchewan NDP leader asks Premier Moe to resume legislature so MLAs can ‘do our jobs’.” CBC News. May 11, 2020.

19 Savannah Awde. “Legislature adjourns for the summer COVID-19 committee continues.” Telegraph-Journal. June 22, 2020, A1.

20 Education Minister Dominic Cardy was identified as an early advocate for the all-party cabinet committee. Jacques Poitras. “Demographics, distancing and dumb luck: How N.B. avoided a worst case COVID-19 scenario.” CBC New Brunswick. April 27, 2020. Accessed at cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/new-brunswick-covid-19-1.5545241

21 Government of New Brunswick. “News Release: New cabinet committee on novel coronavirus appointed.” March 12, 2020. Accessed at https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/news/news_release.2020.03.0113.html

22 Only a month earlier had Higgs’s government been embroiled in a five-alarm political crisis after public protests and losing a cabinet minister, his deputy premier, (and only francophone caucus member who also held the party’s sole northern riding) to proposed health reform to six small emergency departments across the province (Jacques Poitras. “How Friday’s virus-accelerated budget may reshape the province’s politics.” CBC New Brunswick. March 17, 2020. Accessed at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newbrunswick/covid-19-budget-province-1.5499196)

23 Kevin Bissett. “New Brunswick pandemic response gets top marks from public policy expert.” Canadian Press. May 13, 2020.

24 Government of New Brunswick. “News Release: Legislative assembly rises until further notice.” March 17, 2020. Accessed at https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/executive_council/news/news_release.020.03.0133.html

25 Jacques Poitras, “Opposing during COVID: How New Brunswick’s 3 opposition parties are holding government to account.” CBC New Brunswick. March 25. Accessed at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/opposing-covid-nb-government-1.5508568

26 Ibid

27 Andrew Waugh, “Working together, staying apart.” Telegraph-Journal. April 4, 2020.

28 Poitras, “Opposing…”

29 A week into the provincial shutdown and political cooperation Vickers noted, “When this is over, let me be very clear: the Liberal party did not vote in support of this budget. We’ve lost trust in Premier Higgs and we’ve lost trust in his whole government over…the handling of the health care file” (Waugh, “COVID-19…”).

30 Poitras, “Opposing…”

31 Andrew Waugh, “Higgs faces his toughest test.” Fredericton Daily Gleaner. April 11, 2020, A1.

32 Government of New Brunswick. “News Release: New Brunswick municipal elections postponed due to COVID-19.” March 17, 2020. Accessed at https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/health/news/news_release.2020.03.014.html

33 Bissett

34 Jacques Poitras. “Will political partnership last after COVID-19? Premier is hopeful.” CBC New Brunswick. April 21. Accessed at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/nbpolitical-partnership-last-after-covid-19-1.5538882

35 Kevin Vickers. “N.B. needs to bring back its legislature, in a responsible way.” Times and Transcript. May 19, 2020, A9.

36 Poitras, “Agriculture…”

37 The bubble allows residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador to travel between the provinces without 14-day quarantine periods.

38 Andrew Waugh, Adam Huras and Savannah Awde. “No more mister nice guys, having mask commitment and blues at the border.” Fredericton Daily Gleaner. July 11, 2020, A6.

39 Ibid.