25 SEPTEMBER 2010
Published Saturday September 25th, 2010
New party offers revolutionary vision for N.B.'s future
By: TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF
FREDERICTON - Running in their first provincial election in New Brunswick was a change unto itself, but the Green Party wants to shake things up even more than that.
Leader Jack MacDougall presented voters with a comprehensive, "transformational" campaign platform with the objective of getting the province's books in order and making the economy more sustainable.
The Greens proposed a levy on the import and production of fossil fuels in N.B., the proceeds of which would fund a shift to renewable energy sources.
On the financial end, the party would roll back the Liberals' planned $400-million tax cut plan and look at ways to ensure large retail chains pay New Brunswick corporate taxes on their in-province profits.
The Greens also revisited a controversial issue from elections past, promising to place tolls on the Trans-Canada Highway, with New Brunswick residents getting a free annual pass at one toll booth of their choice.
Electoral reform is also central to their plan to enhance democracy in the province with a move towards proportional representation. The Greens also want to reform the province's media landscape, calling for a legislative cap on the concentration of corporate media ownership within each news medium.
The Greens also said they would impose a moratorium on natural gas development until the industry is properly regulated, in order to prevent environmental damage to surrounding eco-systems and communities.
The party's platform isn't fully costed, but they say it will be revenue-neutral, meaning any lost revenue or new spending will be offset by new revenues.
Other significant promises include: returning early French immersion to the previous starting point, removing interest from the provincial component of student loans and capping student debt, remove the double property tax on rental properties and create a health tax on foods that are high in sodium, saturated fats and sugar.
The party is running candidates in 49 of 55 ridings.