09/20/2014 10:16 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:02 EDT

New Brunswick premier says Progressive Conservatives ran a positive campaign

MONCTON, N.B. - New Brunswick's premier said Saturday he feels good about the campaign waged by his Progressive Conservatives while his Liberal rival tried to visit as many ridings as possible ahead of Monday's provincial election.

David Alward strolled through farmers' markets in the Moncton area Saturday morning, shaking hands and offering to discuss election issues. Alward said he ran a positive campaign.

"Look at the ads that we've done, they're asking people to say 'Yes' to the future of New Brunswick," he said.

The Progressive Conservatives are running on a platform to develop natural resources, such as forestry and shale gas, as a way to create jobs and generate much needed revenue.

The other parties have attacked the plans, saying not enough information has been released on the forestry strategy and more study is needed before shale gas development can proceed.

Still, Alward said he believes his message is resonating with voters as he travels throughout the province.

His campaign bus has driven more than 10,000 kilometres since the campaign began.

Alward also attended a barbecue in Shediac and a farmers' market in Bouctouche.

Ironically, one of the people singing with a band playing at the farmers' market was the local Liberal candidate.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant made brief stops Saturday to shake hands with candidates and hand out bottled water to volunteers in the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton areas, including the new riding of Fredericton West-Hanwell, where NDP Leader Dominic Cardy cast his ballot Saturday and is vying for a breakthrough.

Gallant has ratcheted up his attack against Cardy in the dying days of the campaign, accusing the New Democrats of failing to explain how they'll pay for their major promises. Some pundits have said the Liberals could be worried about bleeding votes to the NDP in close races.

But when asked whether he was worried about vote-splitting, Gallant replied: "We're worried for people thinking they're going to vote for a party that won't deliver change."

"The Conservatives want to keep doing what they're doing," he said. "The NDP have made it very clear that they like the approach of reckless cuts and not focusing on job creation."

Gallant took that message later in the day to supporters at a barbecue in Oromocto-Lincoln, another new riding where Tory cabinet minister Jody Carr is running.

Gallant shrugged off suggestions that he was targeting ridings where the Liberals need to make inroads, saying every area is important at this point in the campaign.

"There's people who are undecided, there's some people who haven't heard our message yet of growing the economy, creating jobs and helping families that are struggling in our province," he said. "We have to continue to work to knock on every single door and make as many phone calls as possible."

Aside from two advance polling days, people were able to cast their votes at returning offices six days a week since the campaign began.

A spokesman for Elections New Brunswick says almost 70,000 people voted in the advance polls, while more than 25,000 people voted early at their returning offices.

As well, special ballots were conducted at nursing homes, special care homes and 13 university and college campuses.

Cardy spent the day campaigning in Rothesay, Saint John and Fredericton.

Meanwhile, Green party Leader David Coon reiterated his promise to improve abortion access while in Fredericton.

Abortion became an unlikely and unwieldy issue in the election when the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton closed in July, shuttering the only private clinic in the province to offer the procedure.

Coon said it's unconscionable that someone would have to leave the province to get an abortion.

Regulation 84-20 requires that an abortion be done at certain hospitals and only after two doctors have certified that it is medically necessary.

Gallant has said he wants to remove any barriers to abortion while the NDP have said they would remove the regulation.

Alward has said he would leave things unchanged.

When the legislature dissolved, the Progressive Conservatives had 41 members, the Liberals 13 and there was one Independent.

The election is being fought on a new electoral map that reduces the number of seats in the legislature to 49 from 55.

— With files from Melanie Patten in Fredericton.