New Brunswick — Back in September, Premier Brian Gallant’s Liberal government promised an astonishing 5,000 jobs for the province that’s lagging behind the rest of Canada in nearly every domain. Most New Brunswickers were incredulous at first, but over the past few months were blinded by their hopeful desperation and Gallant’s dazzling good looks, and came to believe the commitment would be upheld.
Even more confounding than the number of jobs pledged was the timeline in which Gallant said they’d be created: he promised New Brunswickers these elusive jobs within the Liberals’ first year in office. But the Conference Board of Canada has said today it predicts only a net gain of 1,600 new jobs to stimulate the floundering economy.
“Look, I promised 5,000 jobs, yeah. And I guess I thought I’d figure something out when the time came,” Gallant said during questioning this morning at a press conference in The Courtyard restaurant at Ramada Hotel in Fredericton. “I literally had my fingers crossed behind my back when I said it, and last time I checked that’s the surefire way to get away with certain … hyperbolic statements like this,” he explained. “It always worked for me back in my school days, and until now it had been working for me in my political career.”
The Progressive Conservatives took aim at Gallant for making promises he knew full well he couldn’t keep. “Hey, Gallant — are you trying to go back on your word now?” shouted interim PC Leader Bruce Fitch, who was lavishly buttering his toast in front of the packed crowd at the Ramada brunch buffet. “Ever heard of the boy who cried wolf? Well you’re the boy who cried jobs, and now New Brunswickers aren’t going to believe anything coming out of your mouth,” he spat, toast crumbs flying out of his own mouth.
Gallant told those in attendance he wasn’t exactly promising 5,000 jobs. “There was never an assurance of that many jobs,” he stammered, turning a deeper red than his party’s colour. “I may have said the words, but my fingers were crossed, and I think that’s they key fact you’re all forgetting here.”
The Tories are contending that crossed fingers can’t excuse Gallant’s irresponsible oaths, and hope this misdemeanour works in their favour during the next election.