Lord's 1999 election campaign included a pledge to fulfill 20 election promises in the first 200 days of his government's mandate. While some of these promises were of a vague administrative nature, such as "reduce red tape," others were more specific. Perhaps the most controversial was the decision to eliminate the tolls on the new Fredericton to Moncton highway. Unpopular, the tolls had generated protest that dogged the previous Liberal government. Of all the promises Lord made during the campaign, this one proved the most difficult and the only one that he could not claim was completed within the "200 days of change." However, in March 2000, Lord's government removed the tolls and agreed to compensate the private road developer for lost revenue.
Perhaps Lord's most significant accomplishment has been the revision of New Brunswick's Official Languages Act. This followed a 2001 New Brunswick Court of Appeal decision ordering that measures be taken to ensure that New Brunswick's municipal governments and health care facilities provide sufficient bilingual services where warranted. Such reforms could have generated divisive controversy; however, Lord successfully engendered an all-party agreement and minimized public debate. The new measures were passed unanimously on 7 June 2002 amidst much ceremony. In a widely applauded but unprecedented move, Lord invited former Liberal premier Louis ROBICHAUD to attend and speak from the floor of the House.
Lord was succeeded as premier of New Brunswick by Liberal Party leader Shawn GRAHAM on 20 September 2006. Lord's youth, linguistic fluency, strong debating skills, political savvy and easy-going nature have attracted attention from both national media and PC insiders, who have wondered whether he would eventually seek the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.
Author DONALD DESSERUD