(photo credit: Charles Leblanc)
By Cheryl Norrad
FREDERICTON - Provincial Liberal leadership candidate Brian Gallant made an appearance in Fredericton today, part of province-wide barnstorming to launch his bid for party leader and future Premier.
Introduced by Miramichi-Baie du Vin Liberal MLA Bill Fraser, campaign co-chairs Mary Schreyer, a former cabinet member in the Graham government, and federal Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc, lauded Gallant's potential to be the great white hope for the rejuvenation of New Brunswick's ailing Liberal party.
Praising Gallant's fresh approach to politics Schreyer said, "Brian is taking the conversation out on the road to ask people what they think went wrong with the Liberal party...to find out how they think the province can move ahead and manage issues in the province differently."
During his remarks, LeBlanc said Gallant has the qualities of a strong leader by being hardworking, with an ability to relate to the small business person and having compassion for people struggling. He added, "It's a good day for the renewal of the Liberal party of New Brunswick, and a very, very bad day for the do-nothing government of David Alward!"
Striding into the room to the tune of "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane, Gallant shook the hands of party faithful lining his way to the podium, stopping to embrace Schreyer and LeBlanc in front of a crowd of close to one hundred supporters, who cheered as he stood at the mic.
"I'm extremely excited to embark on this adventure," said Gallant after thanking his co-chairs, then launched into his plan for the party in the coming years.
Gallant cited buzzwords like restructuring and renewal, saying the Liberal party is learning from it's mistakes.
"The Liberal party has been through tough times before and the party will be stronger than ever after the renewal process," he said.
Gallant also outlined the path of the change the Liberal party is on, pointing out 2011 was a time to fix the structures and problems of the party, while 2012 will bring re-invigoration of the party with a leadership race, and 2013 will be a time to engage New Brunswickers with productive ideas to ensure the election in 2014 fields good local candidates to represent the populace.
Focused on engaging the youth of the province, the charismatic twenty-nine-year-old Gallant said education has to be a priority to retain young people and build the economy for tomorrow that will be transparent, inclusive and accountable in a Liberal administration.
"We will keep our promises by making promises we can keep," he said, the crowd reacting with roars and a standing ovation as Gallant walked into their arms, and into his future.