New Brunswick’s Legislative Assembly Donald Desserud; Stewart Hyson

Article 4 / 10 , Vol 35 No 1 (Spring)

New Brunswick’s Legislative Assembly Donald Desserud; Stewart Hyson

New Brunswick entered Confederation in 1867 with the rudiments of the Westminster model of legislative democracy – representative and responsible government – already in place. These particular institutions were typical of those in other British colonies at the time, which were characterized by a relatively small electorate, a limited scope for governmental activity, and elitist decision-making practices. But while the parliamentary institutions and political culture in other former British colonies developed and matured over the course of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, New Brunswick seemed caught in a time trap. Until the 1960s which were characterised by sweeping changes in governance, social services, education and income redistribution, all under the visionary programme known as Equal Opportunity shepherded by Liberal Premier Louis Robichaud. Since then, a parade of premiers and party leaders have tried to put their own stamp on the province. When the Liberals were defeated in 2010, it marked the first time a New Brunswick Government had been defeated after just one term. This paper portrays legislative democracy in New Brunswick as it has evolved from its 18th-century origins into the early years of the 21st century.