DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL POLICIES

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 Engagementare 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’ option 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. Local Governance

Local Governance should be refocused and revitalized to have the mechanisms to deal with local issues and engage local citizens in providing and carrying out solutions. A Green government would:

  • establish elected watershed & sub-watershed councils responsible for maintaining ecological integrity of watersheds with representation from all communities within each watershed and with a mandate for land use decision-making on trans-boundary issues (issues that affect more than one community); and

  • formalize rural communities along self-defined/parish lines (Local Service Districts) and provide them with various options for autonomous government responsible for at least a minimum level of land-use planning and decision-making authority and expanded means of revenue-generation to meet their mandates.

 

4. 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.

 

5. 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 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.

 

Leader's Video Blog

Our Principles

> Non-Violence

A culture of cooperation, caring and understanding is essential to ending violence in our society. Rehabilitation rather than vengeance must be the goal of our justice system.

> Self-Determination and Citizenship

We must have the opportunity and the responsibility as citizens to contribute to the common good, which requires that all have the capacity to participate in community life.

> Social Justice and Equality

Everyone must have equal access to the necessities of life and be treated with dignity and respect. Treaties with First Nations must be honoured.

> Participatory Democracy

We must be able to participate in decisions that affect our lives and be guaranteed that our votes are reflected in the make-up of the Legislative Assembly.

> Local Self-Reliance

Our communities should be in control of their own destinies, supported by strong local economies, and sustained by local sources of food and renewable energy.

> Living within Our Ecological Means

We must live within the ecological limits of the Earth, while meeting our needs without threatening our children's future or the survival of other species.

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