04/21/2016 12:15 EDT | Updated 04/22/2017 05:12 EDT

Mike Allen, Former MP, Joins New Brunswick PC Leadership Race

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FREDERICTON — A former New Brunswick member of parliament has entered the race for the leadership of the province's Progressive Conservatives.

"I am here to serve,'' Mike Allen said Thursday as he officially declared his candidacy.

Allen was the member for the federal riding of Tobique-Mactaquac from 2006 - 2015.

“I am here to serve.”

He says he wants to lead the province towards growth and has five main themes for his campaign.

"Controlling our finances, promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, encourage investment by our small and medium size enterprises, ensure equity and fairness of opportunity, and grow our natural resource sector responsibly,'' he said.

Allen said he supports bilingualism in New Brunswick, but recent events such as the debate over duality for school buses shows that further discussion is needed.

"We need to have a frank, open, respectful and bold discussion about how the bilingualism processes are implemented in New Brunswick to ensure fairness, equity and common sense for all New Brunswickers,'' he said.

Allen is up against MLAs Blaine Higgs and Brian Macdonald, and Moncton lawyer Monica Barley for the party's top job.

Bruce Fitch has been serving as interim leader since David Alward stepped aside after the party lost to the Liberals in the 2014 provincial election.

A new leader will be chosen Oct. 22.

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