New Brunswick MLA quits politics 3 weeks after winning seat by 9 votes



New Brunswick held a general election as per its fixed election date law on Sept. 22. Because it’s a fixed-date election, none of the parties or candidates were surprised by the date of this election. The result? The New Brunswick Liberals, led by 32-year-old Brian Gallant, would oust the incumbent Progressive Conservatives led by David Alward and win a majority government.

In the riding of Saint John East, it was a very close battle but Liberal Gary Keating (pictured above) won by nine votes, a victory that only a judicial recount would certify. Keating scored 2,332 votes to incumbent Progressive Conservative MLA Glen Savoie who had 2,323 votes.

Three weeks later, Keating quit. Here is his statement, released today (my emphasis):

It is with sincere regret that I inform the citizens of Saint John East that I will be unable to assume the responsibility of being their MLA. After careful personal reflection and the unconditional love and support from my family I have decided, at this particular point in my life, that my family must come first and be my priority. Over the course of the election, and during the past few weeks, it has become very apparent that the long hours and travel associated with the job would have a negative impact on my health and, especially, my family. Again, following deep reflection, I came to the conclusion that this role is not for me. For the best interest of all, I have to follow my heart and this is the right decision. In the end you have to be happy.

I have informed the premier of my decision, which he accepted gracefully. His personal support through this difficult time has been appreciated. I wish him and our new government all the best as they work to fulfill their promises to New Brunswickers. I am convinced that their vision and plans will help guide our province towards better days.

Finally, I wish to offer my deepest apologies to the people of Saint John East. They placed their trust in me and I cannot help but feel that I have let them down. In valuing the importance of family life themselves, I can only hope that they understand my reasons for making this decision.

Now I want you to read the bio that the New Brunswick Liberals had put up about him at . Again, the emphasis is mine.

Gary Keating was born and raised in Saint John East, where he has lived and worked his whole life. He and his wife, Catherine, have lived in Lakewood for the last quarter-century, raising their three children; Aaron, Andrew and Emily.

Keating received his B.A. in Political Science from St. Thomas University in 1983, going on to complete his Master’s in Education at the University of New Brunswick in 1996. He has been a teacher/school administrator in Saint John for the past 28 years. Currently he is the principal of Simonds High School, a position he has held for over a decade. As a lifelong educator, Keating is dedicated to the development of our youth—as shown by his receiving the “G. Forbes Elliot Award for Educational Leadership” in 1995.

Keating is engaged with his community. He has been a lifelong volunteer, and believes that investments in our young people matter. He has proven this engagement over the years by coaching numerous sport teams including Saint John Youth Hockey, Fundy Soccer, and Fundy Lacrosse, along with coaching several teams at Simonds High School. He has also done volunteer work with the Atlantic Health Sciences Corporation, Mind Care New Brunswick, and with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Keating is an avid runner and who has completed six marathons. He has a proven record of hard work and he will work hard for his constituents.

Ok. Let’s match today’s statement against Keating’s bio.

Keating said he’s quitting because he’s just now realizing that he’s just signed up for “long hours and travel” associated with with the job of an MLA. Really?  First of all: The guy’s undergraduate degree is in political science. He had no idea that this is what you get when you run for office? The commute, incidentally, between his riding and the provincial capital, by the way, is 90 minutes on a bad day. I know millions of of those who live in the GTA who do 90 minutes every day as part of their commute. As for long hours, his bio says he was a teacher and principal. As the son of a teacher and principal, I’m pretty sure he’s already working long hours.

Also: Keating was nominated by acclamation at the end of 2013. He’s had nearly a year to contemplate his future as an MLA. And today he packs it in after his party and its volunteers pushed him to a nine-vote victory?

Also in his statement, Keating says he’e worried about the effects of his new job on his health. Keating is not some overweight, chain-smoking, fast food glutton. As his bio says: He’s run in six marathons! And he’s claiming he might have health problems driving to Fredericton a couple of dozen times a year to sit as a backbencher in a majority government in Canada’s second smallest province?

Something ain’t right with this .story …


8 thoughts on “New Brunswick MLA quits politics 3 weeks after winning seat by 9 votes”

  1. This sounds like a spoiled brat who didn’t get a cabinet post, so he’s picking up his marbles and going home.
    Some role model for students.

  2. Absolutely the very least would be for him to pay the cost of another campaign / election. $100,000 plus would be fair.

    1. I was thinking along the same lines. However, I think the Liberal Party should pay for the cost of the byelection. They should have done a better job vetting their candidate and the people of New Brunswick shouldn’t be on the hook for their failure.

  3. It sounds to me like somebody who didn’t want to give up his regular job, a good one, to be a backbench MLA, not the most glamorous job in my opinion. It certainly looks like on the surface that he expected a Cabinet position.

    Quitting is the best thing for Saint John East. Do you want a guy who “takes his ball and goes home” representing you? This is the opposite of a constituency politician. Saint John East, these are the politicians you don’t want elected. He just did you a favour.

  4. My guess, from reading between the lines of his explanation, is that he’s vulnerable to depression and he felt himself getting sucked back under.

  5. “Keating scored 2,332 votes to incumbent Progressive Conservative MLA Glen Savoie who had 2,323 votes.”

    I’d be willing to bet that supporters of Liberal, NDP, and Green parties — be they federal or provincial — who keep on advocating some form of PR electoral system (truth be told, probably because their guys didn’t get in in the last election) would now balk if runner-up PC MLA Glen Savoie were allowed to represent that riding without a by-election.

  6. Probably he is a pro-lifer which his fed liberal boss refuse to have in his party and which Gallant took to account to obey Justin orders by changing the rules ordering his own mps to follow.

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