Kevin Vickers has made it official: he’s running for the leadership of the New Brunswick Liberal Party.
Vickers made the announcement to a crowd of party supporters from around the province at a noon launch in his hometown of Miramichi.
With no sitting or former MLAs in the race so far, Vickers’s name recognition and support vaults him into the front-runner position.
The former RCMP officer and sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons became famous in 2014 for his role in stopping and killing a gunman who attacked Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
The 62-year-old Vickers was also credited with bringing calm to the Burnt Church fishing crisis in 1999-2000.
He was appointed Canada’s ambassador to Ireland in the wake of the Ottawa shooting and retired from that position earlier this year.
Vickers is a political neophyte who told CBC News earlier this month that his ideological views are “all over the map,” overlapping with those of several political parties.
He said he is a fiscal conservative who also embraces progressive values, and said on environmental issues he is “more green than the Greens.”
Vickers is running to replace former premier Brian Gallant, who resigned as Liberal leader last year after failing to win his party a second majority.
One other New Brunswickers has said he plans to run for the leadership: Moncton shelter director René Ephestion.
Charlo-area businessman Gaetan Pelletier, who had announced he was running, attended Vickers’ launch and said he was endorsing him rather than running himself.
The Liberal Party said that as of Friday morning, no candidate had filed official paperwork to run.