Fredericton — Premier Brian Gallant invited reporters to an impromptu question-and-answer luncheon on Thursday morning in the province’s capital, where he answered every single question with “Because it’s 2015.”
“I got an email from my boss telling me to go have lunch with the premier downtown,” recalled Charles Harrington, a writer for The Daily Gleaner. “We had no idea what to expect, we were just told that Gallant wanted us there and would be ready to answer any and all questions we had for him.”
Harrington said he spent the better part of his morning scribbling down some hard-knock questions for the premier, ranging from his lack of job creation to his increasingly low approval ratings.
“I was ready to hit him hard,” Harrington continued. “It’s not every day you get an opportunity to sit down with the premier, eat a sandwich and ask him anything you want.“
Harrington, along with the dozen or so other reporters in attendance, quickly realized that the meeting was little more than a sad attempt by Gallant to ride the coattails of newly sworn-in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose response to a reporter’s question went viral on Wednesday afternoon.
When asked why it was important for Trudeau to have an equal number of men and women in his appointed cabinet, the charming Trudeau quipped, “Because it’s 2015”; that comment has received accolades across the world in the days since.
Reporters were instructed to arrive at Quizno’s downtown at noon on Thursday, and that Gallant would field any questions for as long as it took him to eat his large Turkey Bacon Guacamole sandwich. The question period lasted 13 minutes.
Gallant opened by thanking reporters for their time and explained that he was looking to answer questions about tough, controversial topics. The first question, asked by Cynthia Gaudreau with the Telegraph-Journal, got the ball rolling. “Why is that you have done nothing to make New Brunswick a more attractive place to live, work and raise a family?”
“Well,” Gallant said while taking a sip from his diet iced-tea, “because it’s 2015.”
A confused Gaudreau quickly stated that Gallant’s response “didn’t make sense” and tried to follow up with the handsome premier, but was cut off by his aide. “Mr. Gallant will not be answering any follow-up questions,” explained the aide. “He will be answering initial questions only.”
Maya Westburg of the Miramichi Leader was next to confront the premier with a tough query.
“Mr. Premier, many people in the province have been accusing you of skirting issues and not taking a real stance on important topics like abortion rights and fracking,” she said. “How is that you’ve remained in power for months without addressing any of these issues?”
Again, Gallant took a bite of his delicious-looking sandwich and answered, “Because it’s 2015.”
Most reporters quickly caught on, wrapped up their sandwiches and left before Gallant could continue. The Manatee was the last news outlet left at the luncheon because our credit card was declined and we were waiting for a friend to bring us some money, so we indulged Gallant with one last question.
“Mr. Premier,” asked our reporter. “Why is that you’re more concerned with your public image over your policies and actions?”
Gallant gave our reporter a knowing smirk, nodded his head a little and said, “Because… it’s 2015.”