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Blaine Higgs
Blaine Higgs at COVID-19 announcement (49667487992) (cropped).jpg
Higgs in 2020
34th Premier of New Brunswick
Assumed office
November 9, 2018
Lieutenant Governor Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau
Brenda Murphy
Deputy Robert Gauvin (2018–20)
Preceded by Brian Gallant
Leader of the Opposition
In office
October 22, 2016 – November 9, 2018
Preceded by Bruce Fitch
Succeeded by Brian Gallant
Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick
Assumed office
October 22, 2016
Preceded by Bruce Fitch (interim)
Minister of Finance
In office
October 12, 2010 – October 7, 2014
Premier David Alward
Preceded by Greg Byrne
Succeeded by Roger Melanson
Member of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly
for Quispamsis
Assumed office
September 27, 2010
Preceded by Mary Schryer
Personal details
Blaine Myron Higgs

(1954-03-01) March 1, 1954 (age 70)
Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada
Political party Progressive Conservative
Other political
Confederation of Regions
Spouse Marcia Higgs

Blaine Myron Higgs MLA (born March 1, 1954) is a Canadian politician who is the 34th and current premier of New Brunswick since 2018 and leader of the New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Party (PC Party) since 2016.

Higgs graduated from the University of New Brunswick as an engineer. He then worked for 33 years for Irving Oil. Higgs ran for the leadership of the anti-bilingual New Brunswick Confederation of Regions Party in 1989. Higgs was first elected to the legislature in the 2010 provincial election and served as minister of finance from 2010 to 2014 in the government of David Alward. In the 2018 provincial election, Higgs narrowly carried the PCs to a minority government, despite losing the popular vote. Higgs and the PCs were re-elected in the 2020 provincial election, though this time with a majority government.

Life and career

Higgs was born in Woodstock, New Brunswick and grew up in Forest City. and graduated from the University of New Brunswick as an engineer. He worked for 33 years for Irving Oil, rising to the position of senior executive overseeing oil transportation across eastern Canada and New England. Higgs retired from Irving Oil in 2010.

Early political career

Higgs has belonged to three political parties and ran for the leadership of two.

Liberal Party

Before joining the Confederation of Regions party, Higgs was a Liberal party member but left the Liberals because he opposed Canadian bilingualism and the New Brunswick Official Languages Act.

Confederation of Regions Party

In his mid-thirties, Higgs ran for the leadership of the New Brunswick Confederation of Regions (COR) party, stating that he was in favour of "common-sense". In his bid for the COR leadership, Higgs "complained about francophones 'who can speak the common language, but refuse to'". He also supported an elected Senate, opposed the Meech Lake Accord, favoured fixed terms for government, and stated "We do not have an obligation to cater to those people who can speak the common language, English, and refuse to do so".

Finance minister

On October 12, 2010, Higgs was sworn-in as Minister of Finance, Minister responsible for the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation, Minister responsible for the New Brunswick Investment Management Corporation, Minister responsible for the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation, and Chair of the Board of Management. He also served as Minister of Human Resources until October 9, 2012. While Higgs was Minister of Finance, the decision was made to stop making regular payments to pension plans, later causing pension issues for Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members leading to the strike in 2021.

Progressive Conservative Party leadership

Higgs represents the electoral district of Quispamsis as a member, and, since October 22, 2016, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick. On that date the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick leadership election was held and on the third ballot he defeated former Saint John Mayor Mel Norton, 1,563 to 1,169.

2018 provincial election

In the 2018 provincial election, Higgs and his party won the largest share of seats in the legislature, 22, compared to 21 for the governing Liberal Party of New Brunswick, which opted to attempt to remain in power as a minority government by presenting a Throne Speech in hopes of retaining the confidence of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.

On November 2, 2018, the Progressive Conservatives and the People's Alliance combined to defeat Premier Brian Gallant's Liberal minority government via a non confidence vote in the legislature.

Premier of New Brunswick (2018–present)

Higgs was appointed Premier on November 9, 2018. At 64 years of age at the time of swearing-in, Higgs is the oldest person to be sworn in as Premier in New Brunswick history, and in April 2019 became the oldest ever Premier in New Brunswick history, surpassing Leonard Percy de Wolfe Tilley in both records.

Economic policy

In 2019, Higgs began repealing several financial assistance programs for New Brunswick students attending post-secondary institutions. His party deemed programs such as the Timely Completion Benefit, established in May 2009, to be "very costly". The Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick believed redistributing the funds allocated to this program through a tuition tax credit was a "better" way to reach more students. This move, along with the removal of the Free Tuition Program, were highly criticized by students across the province, with some emphasizing that there is no longer any incentive to remain in New Brunswick to work or study.

In 2020, Higgs opted out of a federal program to fund public transit in New Brunswick, as he "misunderstood details" of the federal program designed to rescue municipal transit services. Higgs claimed multiple times that the funding was for capital projects, but according to a government backgrounder on the agreement, that specific program was meant to address the operating deficits and revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic. Higgs also claimed that the program was only for larger provinces, stating, "that was a specific request for infrastructure funding for subways and for systems in Toronto and Montreal and BC — for the big cities." Documents later showed that Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have received a combined $57.1 million from Ottawa's "Safe Restart" public transit aid program. New Brunswick asked for and received $0.


Higgs raised the idea of cutting equalization payments made to 'have-not provinces', including New Brunswick during a First Ministers' meeting in Montreal in 2018. The New Brunswick government budgeted for $1.8-billion worth of equalization transfers in 2018-19. Without 30 per cent of the budget coming through federal transfer payments, Higgs suggested attitudes might change about resource development.


Higgs's government had to deal with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) strike in October and November 2021. About 20,000 workers in the education, health, transportation and infrastructure sectors went on strike for 16 days. On November 14, Higgs's government reached a deal with CUPE. The agreement included raising wages for the workers.


In 2020, the Higgs government was urged to call an inquiry into systemic racism following police officers shooting and killing Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi after they attacked police officers in separate incidents that summer. First Nations Chiefs later walked out on a meeting with Higgs following his refusal to commit to an independent inquiry, stating that they were 'losing faith' in him.

The following year, Higgs's government pulled out of tax-sharing agreements with 13 Mi'kmaq and Wolastoqey First Nations without consultation.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Arlene Dunn announced in 2021 that the Higgs Government would hire an independent commissioner to examine systemic racism rather than call a public inquiry. Indigenous leaders later denounced the provincial government's plan to address systemic racism, calling it a form of systemic racism itself.

Following a major land title claim filed by Wolastoqey Chiefs, Higgs alleged that title claim "impacts every single land owner" in the province by claiming title to "private lands of any kind" with "no limits". Higgs's comments that the lawsuit might lead to Indigenous people winning control of 60 per cent of the province's land, including private homes and businesses was flatly contradicted by the 657-page statement of claims filed by the chiefs in court, which listed only five forestry companies, NB Power, and the federal and provincial governments.

Shortly afterwards, New Brunswick's Attorney General Ted Flemming sent a memo to government employees which asked them to cease making indigenous territorial acknowledgements that made reference to 'unceded' or 'unsurrendered' land. "As a result of this litigation, legal counsel for GNB and the Office of the Attorney General has advised that GNB employees may not make or issue territorial or title acknowledgements. This includes the use of territorial acknowledgements at meetings and events, in documents, and in email signatures." This policy faced growing backlash, including within the Premier's own cabinet. A leaked series of emails revealed Education Minister Dominic Cardy and Transportation Minister Jill Green wrote to the premier complaining that the new policy was causing unnecessary conflict and “creates the impression of a government intentionally reinforcing racist behaviour.”

COVID-19 pandemic

Higgs led the provincial government response to the COVID-19 pandemic in New Brunswick. On March 19, 2020, the government declared a state of emergency. Higgs tested positive for COVID-19 on December 31, 2021.

2020 re-election

Higgs argued that stability in government was required for the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery. The snap election was called on August 17, 2020. Higgs and the Progressive Conservatives were re-elected to a majority government in the 2020 provincial election held on September 14.

2023 leadership turmoil

In May 2023, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development under the Higgs government revealed that it was putting Policy 713 under review due to "concerns and misunderstandings of its implementation" as well as "hundreds of complaints from parents and teachers," as later claimed by department minister Bill Hogan, who, despite this claim, failed to provide evidence. Another reason for the review of this policy, as later stated by Higgs on May 16, was that parents "deserve to be aware if their child goes by a different name or pronouns in school, even if the child hasn’t come out to them." Higgs also considered it problematic for a child to "purposely" hide their identity, in response to the policy, according to Higgs, allowing an individual under the age of 16 to go by a new name without parental knowledge. On June 8, 2023, Policy 713 was revised by Hogan and was announced to start taking effect on July 1. Hogan's department updated three of the policy's sections under self-identification, sports participation and universal spaces.

Policy 713 has been criticized for facilitating forced premature outing, misgendering, and deadnaming and for promoting homophobia and transphobia.

On June 15, Minister of Social Development Dorothy Shephard resigned from cabinet by handing Higgs a handwritten resignation letter on the floor of legislature after a voting for an opposition motion calling for further studies on Policy 713. In subsequent media interviews, she cited frustration with Higgs' leadership approach as the reason for her resignation, with his management of Policy 713 being the culmination of her frustrations.

Higgs has received at least a dozen letters from his own party, including current party members and riding association presidents, to trigger a leadership review. Some letters were ruled invalid without explanation. The provincial council will vote to schedule a convention once they receive enough letters.

Electoral record


New Brunswick general election, 2020
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Blaine Higgs 5,697 68.11 +11.23
Liberal Robert Hunt 1,225 14.64 -10.55
Green Addison Fach 528 6.31 +0.92
New Democratic Caitlin Grogan 501 5.99 +3.09
People's Alliance Sara Hall 414 4.95 -4.69
Total valid votes 8,365
Total rejected ballots 24 0.29 +0.13
Turnout 8,389 69.86 +1.69
Eligible voters 12,008
Progressive Conservative hold Swing +11.23
New Brunswick general election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Blaine Higgs 4,691 56.87 +5.52
Liberal Aaron Kennedy 2,078 25.19 -6.41
People's Alliance Keith Porter 795 9.64 +8.13
Green Mark Woolsey 445 5.40 +2.25
New Democratic Ryan Jewkes 239 2.90 -9.50
Total valid votes 8248 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 13 0.16
Turnout 8261 69.89
Eligible voters 11,820
Progressive Conservative notional gain Swing +5.97
Source: Elections New Brunswick
New Brunswick general election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Blaine Higgs 3,884 51.35 +0.68
Liberal Mary Schryer 2,390 31.60 -2.61
New Democratic Angela-Jo "AJ" Griffin 938 12.40 +0.99
Green Patrick Kemp 238 3.15 -0.55
People's Alliance Brandon Gardner 114 1.51
Total valid votes 7,564 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 19 0.25
Turnout 7,583 64.76
Eligible voters 11,710
Progressive Conservative notional hold Swing +1.64
Source: Elections New Brunswick
New Brunswick general election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Blaine Higgs 4,076 50.67 +6.69
Liberal Mary Schryer 2,752 34.21 -17.08
New Democratic Matthew Doherty 918 11.41 +6.68
Green Mark Woolsey 298 3.70
Total valid votes 8,044 100.0  
Total rejected ballots 30 0.37
Turnout 8,074 69.29
Eligible voters 11,652
Progressive Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +11.88
Source: Elections New Brunswick
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