David Coon, the newly elected MLA of Fredericton-South, is already establishing himself as the only Green representative in Brian Gallant’s Liberal majority.
After a long and arduous night, David Coon took the Fredericton-South riding in what was considered one of the more hard-fought campaign races of the 2014 general election. As the only MLA who isn’t a Liberal or PC, Coon said he sees his role as a means to keep the two parties in line.
“I know I can be a real conscience for all New Brunswickers, really. In the Legislative Assembly [I can] hold the feet of both the Liberals and Conservatives to the fire as needed and work collaboratively with all parties in the house to make positive change,” said Coon.
Coon said his main concerns at present are to discuss forestry deals and women’s access to abortion with Liberal leader and now-premier of New Brunswick Brian Gallant.
“There are obviously some key issues that need to be dealt with right away,” said Coon. “Of course the urgency to repeal the regulations that require women to seek the permission of two doctors to access abortion services and the regulations that requires abortions to be only provided inside of a hospital.”
“Those are clear pressing concerns that need to be addressed early.”
Coon won the riding with 2,272 votes, giving him a lead of 334 over Progressive Conservative candidate and former minister of energy and mines Craig Leonard. Coon also beat out NDP candidate and former Liberal MLA Kelly Lamrock, Liberal candidate Roy Wiggins and independent candidate Courtney Mills.
Coon’s victory is a ground-breaking moment in the history of the province’s Green Party. Not only is this the first seat for the party in the New Brunswick Legislature but it thrusts the party into the position of the third party of the province, taking the place of the NDP.
“With this election the Green Party is poised to become the third party in this province and when you look at the results that some of the Green Party candidates had in other ridings … it really means that we are on the road to building the party and electing more MLAs in future elections,” said Coon.
Due to a delay caused by issues with the tabulation machines, the election results were stalled until early Tuesday morning. Many New Brunswickers were left questioning the reliability of the new technology, going so far as to demand for a manual recount.
The Liberals took the majority with 27 seats followed by the PC with 21 seats and the David Coon sweeping up a seat for the Green party.