The Promise of Paris

By David Coon On the second day of Hannukkha, in the second week of Advent I stood before a sea of flowers outside the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, the site of the worst of the terrible attacks of November 13. I was there to pay my respects to those who had lost their lives, and to show solidarity with the people of Paris, as a New Brunswicker and a Canadian. Continue reading

Renew New Brunswick

By David CoonThere is the distinct feeling in our province that our economy is stuck in the mud. Efforts by various provincial governments to hit the gas pedal have only dug us deeper, burying us up to our axles. My grandfather used to be asked by sheepish young couples, who had parked in the nearby woods on romantic spring evenings, to get their vehicles out of the mud. He’d fire up his tractor, grab a tow chain, and easily haul them out of their predicament, never mentioning their encounter to the parents.So what’s our economy’s tractor? I believe its green energy. Two of the top ten fastest growing industries in the United States are green building construction and renewable energy. As luck would have it, growth in both of these economic sectors will lower our dependence on oil, coal and natural gas to fight climate change. Just as with growth in other green industries such as the IT, clean tech and biosciences sectors we can create jobs and business opportunities while cranking down our dependence on fossil fuels. Continue reading

Report from the Legislature

By David CoonAugust 7, 2015Now that summer has arrived and the legislative session has ended, I want to take this opportunity to share my reflections on the session with you. Members of the Legislative Assembly have three roles to represent the interests of our constituents in the Legislature;to represent the interests of our constituents in the Legislature; to represent the interests of our constituents in the Legislature; to create and amend laws; to provide surveillance over how money is spent and raised. Continue reading

Leader's report from the Legislature

The implications of Finance Minister Roger Melanson's choices in his first budget have been emerging as the Committee on Estimates and Fiscal Policy has been examining the details, department by department. This has created an endless source of material for question period and plenty of public outcry. The funding cuts to private childcare centres and increased costs for nursing home residents in particular have been of great concern for many. Continue reading

Hearing one thing and doing another: Budget response

Creating budgets is about making decisions to favour one thing over another. Victor Boudreau’s tour of the Province was  to get advice from the people of New Brunswick on what should be the priorities in this year’s budget, with an eye to balancing the books over the next few years.  Did he and the Minister of Finance listen?Eliminating the tuition rebate for recent graduates, a measure to encourage young people to stay in New Brunswick after they graduate, is nowhere to be found in the pages of the government’s consultation report, “What Was Said”.  Nor will you find a suggestion to remove the cap on nursing home costs. Continue reading

Leader's Notebook

by David CoonMarch 27, 2015My bill to ensure 16 and 17 year olds have the right to vote passed second reading on March 12, which was quite a moment. However, the bill now sits in some kind of legislative limbo, known as, "referred to Committee of the Whole". There it waits for the government to schedule it for examination by Committee of the Whole, a committee constituted by all MLAs. The governing Liberals argued it needed more study during the debate at Second Reading. An amendment by the Official Opposition to send it to the Law Amendments Committee for public hearings, so it could be examined in detail was defeated by the Liberals. The pressure on government members and the Premier to adopt the bill continues from student groups such as La Fédération des jeunes francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick.An Act to Dissolve the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency of New Brunswick made its way through the house and is now awaiting Royal assent. Relentless pressure from NB Power and the Liberals' determination to dump the politically appointed Margaret Ann Blaney as CEO of the Crown Corporation convinced the powers that be to destroy Efficiency New Brunswick and hand over a truncated version of its mandate to the people's power company. It is indefensible to dismantle a key agency of community economic development that was creating green jobs and shrinking our carbon footprint while saving people and businesses money on their heating costs. I proposed a series of amendments that would have established energy efficiency targets for NB Power, and that would have required the utility to report on how it was meeting the energy efficiency needs of households and businesses heating with oil, gas, propane and wood. These were defeated. Continue reading

Fear Not the Deficit

by David CoonMarch 6, 2015 "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."-- H.L. MenckenNew Brunswick's financial situation is nowhere near as frightening as some would have you believe. There is no question that we have challenges. Past governments made mistakes, which aggravated our fiscal challenges arising from the 2008 recession, but there is no reason to make decisions which would undermine our ability to secure the well-being, sustainability and equality of our society. In fact, we should explicitly adopt these objectives as the overarching ones to building a secure and sustainable future for our children and theirs. Continue reading

Leader's House Diary

By David CoonFebruary 16, 2015February 16th marks the 133rd birthday of the New Brunswick Legislature. Andrew Blair was Premier, best known for his success in abolishing the unelected Legislative Council to fully realize responsible government in New Brunswick.History is represented everywhere in the chamber. Gigantic portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte hang on either side of the throne (yes, like all parliaments there is a Throne for the Queen should she visit, though it is generally occupied by the Speaker). It was King George III who severed Sunbury County from Nova Scotia to create the colony of New Brunswick, which explains the prominence of their portraits. Continue reading

The Way Ahead

By David Coon Last Friday, David Alward characterized the efforts of citizens to prevent fracking as gaining a beachhead to defeat his economic agenda. On Saturday he increased the rhetoric, asking us to choose between chaos and the rule of law in next year's election. Seriously? David Alward's plan to increase our economic dependence on the oil and gas sector is out of step with the times. In the face of the inevitable consequences of fracking for people and the environment, set against the back drop of the deepening climate crisis, it's an economic strategy based on plunder and pollution. Growing numbers of New Brunswickers are saying no more. We've seen that movie and we're not going to rerun it again. Continue reading

Facing Reality

Pinch me, but I am sure it is 2013, not 1974. The obsession of government after government with economic development by energy megaproject in New Brunswick goes back to 1974 when Richard Hatfield announced he was going to build Point Lepreau, the first of many planned nuclear reactors to be put in the service of powering the American economy. Now it's David Alward who is singing the praises of fracking for shale gas to fuel the American economy. Enough! Continue reading

Our Principles

>Living within Our Ecological Means

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.

> Local Self-Reliance

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.

> Real Democracy

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

> Social Justice and Equality

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.

> Active Citizenship

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.

> A Culture of Peace and Respect

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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