1. Democratic Renewal
A Green government would create a Legislative Office of Democratic Renewal reporting to the Legislative Assembly whose mandate would be to develop mechanisms for institutional and civic engagement enhancement, including the following:
create Citizen Assemblies to deliberate on major new policy initiatives and provide feedback on public decision-making;
provide rules for and oversight of citizen referenda on major decision-making;
facilitate Citizen Study Circles that would engage, educate, and activate citizens of all ages about civic skills and activity; and
establish a mixed member proportional representation electoral system, as recommended by the Lord government’s Commission on Legislative Democracy.
2. Voter and Civic Engagement
Voting and Civic Engagement are crucial to the healthy functioning of a democracy, yet participation in elections is on the decline. To reverse this trend, the Green Party would:
investigate online voting as a way to increase accessibility and improve voter turnout;
allow for multiple voting days, with more emphasis on advanced polling;
expand ballots to include ‘none of the above’ options for voting;
encourage more youth voting and engagement by lowering the age for voting to 16; by bringing annual mock elections and parliaments into schools; and, on election day, by setting up polling stations in secondary schools, universities, and colleges to facilitate youth voting; and
encourage engagement strategies that strengthen the social norms of civic engagement and voting.
3. Government Ethics
A Green government would:
• communicate information the public has a clear right to know;
• establish the priority of accountability of MLAs to their constituents (the Stuart Jamieson example);
• support policies and establish legislation in the public’s interest applicable to politicians, political staff,
political appointees and government employees to act honestly, ethically, openly, and responsibly and
to prevent waste;
• establish legislation that will:
o require lobbyists to be registered in the province,
o require lobbyists to divulge any contribution – either financial or in-kind – to any candidate,
elected official, political staff person, political appointee and/or government employee, and
o ban political donations by corporations, businesses, and unions and lower the donation limit for
individuals to $1000.00.
• institute mandatory training in ethics for MLAs and their staffs, requiring all MLAs and staff to take in-
house training on the basics of good management and ethics in the Legislature;
• establish a formal Code of Conduct and Roles and Responsibilities for MLAs that includes, at least, the
o not to mislead the public,
o not to switch parties between elections,
o not to keep secret information the public has a clear right to know, and
o not to place your personal interests above the public good/interest.
• introduce an Accountability Act to ensure that all those who monitor government are selected at arm's
length from those they monitor, to eliminate the blanket exemptions on public release of government
documents and to guarantee transparency and openness for all government activities;
• restore Legislative Committees as a vehicle for non-partisan, constructive improvement of legislation
and require that the improved version of such legislation be the version put to the Legislature for vote;
• enact effective whistle-blower protection for public and private sector employees;
• institute a code of conduct and an independent complaints process to ensure that tax dollars are not
used for pre-election partisan purposes;
• reform the appointments system to discourage patronage by establishing an independent agency for
ensuring that appointments to government tribunals, boards and senior positions are done through a
qualification-based process and are not politically motivated patronage appointments; and
• adhere to fixed election dates permitting political stability and fair elections..
5. Corporate Capture
Corporate capture is alive and well in New Brunswick, from the near total industrial control of Crown land, to ownership concentration in New Brunswick’s print media and radio. It is allowed to flourish in part because of poor or nonexistent laws governing monopolies and the lack of transparency surrounding financial transfers between companies and government. It is exacerbated when a few individuals hold beneficial interests in multiple companies in a single jurisdiction, but where the interconnectedness is not formally disclosed. A Green government would:
immediately enact regulations activating a lobbyist registry.
require all corporate income and property taxes paid in New Brunswick to be disclosed on a publicly accessible website.
treat all companies using offshore tax havens for aggressive tax avoidance as ineligible for Government competitions, contracts or other transactions such as grants, forgivable loans or provincial corporate tax credits.
establish an online public registry of the beneficial ownership of all corporations registered in and/or doing business in NB.
publish online the contents and value of every contract for service, loans and forgivable loans and contribution agreements signed with the Province of NB.
work with the federal government to aggressively pursue companies practicing tax avoidance and evasion, with a view to modifying income tax legislation to make it easier to identify and repatriate withheld taxes being sheltered in tax havens.
amend the property assessment rules to eliminate special exemptions or reductions for industrial and commercial installations.
amend the New Brunswick Political Process Financing Act such that only individuals may make contributions to a registered political party, registered district association, registered independent candidate, leadership contestant or nomination contestant.
6. Media Ownership
Whereas a print-media monopoly is not in the best interests of full public debate and democratic participation, a Green government would support a diversified, independent, non-conflicted media with the following measures:
establish a media trust fund to facilitate the establishment of independent not-for-profit and co-operative news media outlets at arms-length from the government;
legislate a cap on the concentration of media ownership within each news medium; and
require news media outlets to disclose any conflict of interest between the business interests of their owners and news stories or commentaries they publish or broadcast.