FREDERICTON (GNB) – The 59th legislative assembly of New Brunswick convened its first session today. As the members’ first order of business, Restigouche-Chaleur MLA Daniel Guitard was elected to oversee the deliberations of the house as Speaker.

Guitard offered his thanks to the members for his election.

“The role of Speaker is critical to the operation of this legislature and to ensuring we can all work collaboratively and productively for the people who elected us,” said Guitard. “I am honoured to have been chosen and promise to do my best to impartially serve the legislative assembly and all New Brunswickers.”

Guitard was first elected to the legislative assembly on Sept. 22, 2014. He was named deputy government whip. In June 2016, he was appointed chair of the government caucus and a member of the Jobs Board. He has also served as vice-chair of the standing committee on economic policy and the standing committee on private bills and as a member of the legislative administration committee, the standing committee on procedure, privileges and legislative officers, and the standing committee on public accounts.

He worked for nearly 16 years with the federal Department of Employment and Immigration. In 1995, he acquired a business specializing in the sale and servicing of recreational products. On five occasions, he won the silver award for dealers with the best customer ratings for after-sales service. In 2011, he became a financial planner with the National Bank and an agent with the Knights of Columbus.

Guitard has been active in his community as the chair of various festivals, a minor hockey and baseball team manager, a municipal councillor, and the chair of Atlas Park. He sat on the Belledune District Planning Commission and the Beresford, Nigadoo, Petit-Rocher and Pointe-Verte (BNPP) Regional Police joint committee. For several years, he was an adviser to the franchise advisory committee of Joe Rent All, a company from Quebec. He remains a member of the Knights of Columbus council in his village.

Don Forestell, clerk of the legislative assembly, said the Speaker occupies the highest position of authority in the legislature. The Speaker is tasked with maintaining order and decorum in the assembly, enforcing the rules of procedure, and deciding all questions of order.