Debate bombshell by Tory leader seen by observer as move of desperation

At least one political observer in New Brunswick says the decision by Conservative Leader Blaine Higgs to drop a political bombshell during the first debate of the provincial election campaign was just a desperate attempt to secure a win.

Donald Wright, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick, says Higgs' claim that he was offered the job of finance minister in the newly-elected Liberal government in 2014 was a "Hail Mary" effort, and just odd.

Liberal Premier Brian Gallant says there were meetings with the former finance minister about the province's books, but the premier insisted no job offer was made.

People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin says Higgs' claim was a publicity stunt that didn't make either the Liberals or Tories look good.

Green Leader David Coon says it showed the two mainline parties just want to play politics.

Wright says it was difficult for viewers to get much from the debate because the five leaders were often talking at the same time in a confusing free-for-all.