Fredericton – On January 16th, Integrity Commissioner Deschênes issued a report of findings regarding a request for information filed by David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick on February 2, 2017.
“Last year I filed for access to information regarding a lease agreement between the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and Irving Oil for the new visitor information centre in St. Stephen,” said Coon.
The Department originally withheld the square footage, the length of the lease, and the amount of rent paid. Through informal processes with the Commissioner they released some of this information in December of 2017. They continued to withhold the annual rental rate, which the Commissioner has advised they should release.
“My request to DTI should have been straightforward and instead it has been a year of fighting for information that should already be public,” said Coon. “The government secrecy around how it is spending public money has to end.”
Coon is currently in court pursuing financial details of contracts governing P3 nursing homes across the province associated with another access to information request that was denied by the Department of Social Development.
Fredericton – Today David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick and MLA for Fredericton South introduced the party’s new Deputy Leaders, Marilyn Merritt-Gray and Denis Boulet. Merritt-Gray is the Green Party’s candidate for Gagetown-Petitcodiac, while Boulet will be running in Madawaska les Lacs-Edmundston.
“My deputy leaders will help me, and all our candidates, ensure that New Brunswickers know that a caucus of Green MLAs will bring renewal to our province, by producing a minority government,” said Coon. “A minority government will be a more effective government because it will require collaboration among the parties to better serve the people of our province. We can’t afford another majority government where the Premier wields power for political ends, at the expense of us all.”
“Marilyn and Denis are strong leaders, who will bring important perspectives from rural and small town New Brunswick , as we prepare for the 2018 election. It’s very important to me to have a youth and woman’s perspective, representing both our linguistic communities, integrated into the leadership of our party,” said Coon.
Marilyn Merritt-Gray lives with her family in Kars on Belleisle Bay. She has spent her career as a nurse in mental health, women’s wellness, rural health service delivery and community development.
Denis Boulet is from Connors in Haut-Madawaska. He currently works on the family Christmas tree farm. Denis has been active in his community, promoting local history and museums.
December 5th, 2017
''I am pleased that Ann has been acclaimed as the candidate for Rothesay. Ann has dedicated her career to supporting newcomers and building community. She will be a great representative for the people of Rothesay, " said David Coon, leader of the Green party and MLA for Fredericton South.
Ann McAllister had this to say about her nomination: ''As candidate for the NB Green Party in the riding of Rothesay, I will work diligently to fulfill the trust you have placed in me. I support Town Council's goal of ensuring that Rothesay is accessible and affordable to those on fixed incomes. I will also explore strategies for building a sustainable, resilient society, economy and environment in the face of climate change. "
Ann McAllister is the eighth Green party candidate to be nominated. The next nomination meeting will occur on December 16th in Florenceville-Bristol. Media Advisory to follow.
David Coon, leader of the Green party of New Brunswick and MLA for Fredericton South, is calling on the Premier to respond to the 10-year national housing strategy announced Nov 22nd with details on how New Brunswick will participate.
"The number one issue I hear about from constituents at my office is housing insecurity," said Coon. "Now the federal government has announced a $40B, ten-year plan to support affordable housing across the country and our government has been silent as to how it will put this money to use."
Since Prime Minister Trudeau announced the plan, provincial ministers and premiers across the country have responded publicly to address their priorities and concerns with the plan: including Ontario, Nova Scotia, British Colombia, Alberta, and Quebec. The New Brunswick government has been absent from the public discourse.
“On an issue of such importance to New Brunswick, the silence is unacceptable," said Coon. “If the province is negotiating with the federal government for our share of that $40B, New Brunswickers should know what our government’s priorities are.”
Hannah Bell wins District 11 by-election by 157 votes
November 27nd, 2017
Fredericton - New Brunswick Green Party leader David Coon congratulates Hannah Bell for winning the PEI by-election in Charlottetown-Parkdale.
"The winds of change are blowing across the Maritimes," said Coon. "Hannah will be an outstanding MLA for her constituents and a powerhouse as a parliamentarian in the PEI Legislative Assembly, creating the second Green caucus in the country, alongside PEI Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker."
"I know New Brunswickers can't wait to send a strong caucus of Green MLAs to Fredericton to bring about an effective minority government that will better serve them," said Coon.
''I want to congratulate Chris Smisseart, on winning the nomination to run as the Green candidate in Fredericton North, which he and two others were seeking. As leader, I am thrilled that the Green Party nominations are being vigorously contested in riding after riding. The membership in Fredericton North has elected a passionate candidate who is dedicated to stand up for the public interest and to pursue truth an reconciliation in our relationship with the Wolastoqiyik people of St. Mary's First Nation" said David Coon, leader of the Green party and MLA for Fredericton South.
Chris Smissaert had this to say about his nomination: ''Many thanks to all Greens in Fredericton North who supported me this night. You have given me your trust to bring "Real Change" to all of us here on the Northside of Fredericton. A Green MLA in Fredericton North. I will work very hard and do my best and with our fine leader and Great Platform and your help, we will be successful. "
Chris Smissaert is the seventh Green party candidate to be nominated. The next nomination meeting will occur on December 6th at the Kennebecasis Public Library. Media Advisory to follow.
Recent events in Moncton point to a problem deeper than targeted vandalism. Almost two weeks ago, someone littered a neighborhood with posters that lampooned the NB Minister of Finance and her just-nominated female political colleague. Both were depicted as female puppets controlled by and dependent on male leadership. Public outcry was swift with political colleagues denouncing the act and the articulate Minister confidently defending herself and the Premier. The dust on the issue settled quickly with the situation publicly considered an isolated incident.
My experience as political candidate, however, suggests differently. Politics and the political culture of New Brunswick remain a tightly controlled Old Boys Club, an environment where women are rare, and remain devalued or dismissed as secondary players. One of the hallmarks of a democracy is that it reflects the diversity and interests of its citizens. On this measure New Brunswick continues to fail.
New Brunswick was the 7th province to grant women the right to vote and the 9th to grant women the right to run for provincial office. Brenda Robertson in 1967 was the first woman elected as MLA and in 1970 became the first female Cabinet Minister. Our integration of women in politics still has us in last place compared with other provinces. Only 16% of New Brunswick’s elected MLAs are women, a rate that has not improved for almost 20 years.
This reality extends beyond the doors of the Chamber and into the offices of the leaders where senior political staffers remain predominantly male. Journalists in the press gallery remain predominantly male. The top civil service and lobbyist positions remain predominately male.
While gender representation is better in Canadian federal politics, still only 26% of our elected MPs are women. It is believed that 30 to 33% representation is needed to begin to change a Political agenda and culture. Studies show that with better gender representation, economies strengthen and governance improves.
Tabitha Southey in her recent MacLean’s opinion piece describes the federal political climate as one where women are “routinely condemned as too ugly to be seen or too pretty to be taken seriously." She refers to the experience of federal Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna, after she called out Rebel Media for repeatedly referring to her as ‘Climate Barbie’.
Southey went on to say some critics then described her as ‘undignified’, suggesting “'if she wants to be a minister, she has to have thicker skin,' thicker skin is the thing women are expected to grow at the same time they’re being told to lighten up." The same level of fortitude Southey suggests is not demanded of men, who are mostly ‘reacting’, not ‘over reacting’ to an affront to their dignity.
Monique Bégin, the highly respected former MP, in her recent speech to MPs and Senators focused on male political power and described toxic masculinity in politics. She states she is no longer interested in seeing the glass ceiling shattered. Rather, she says it’s the ‘roots of patriarchy’ that need to be addressed. She says it is the sexual abuse, and systemic harassment that limits women’s true access to power, and as such she calls for a transformational shift in the way we do politics. She calls for a political environment that is safe and respectful for both women and men.
NB Green Party Leader David Coon when speaking in the Legislature this past week concerning the postering incident in Moncton, stressed the important role all MLAs have to become ‘a part of the solution’. Indeed, when members undermine one another, pounce on one another’s perceived weakness, and act to win at one another’s expense, we are all worse for it. These behaviors alienate the very people MLAs are elected to represent. Indeed, we are long overdue for a transformational collaborative shift in the way we do politics.
Recently I have had women speak with me expressing interest in serving their community by running for political office. While they express concern about the financial cost and potential impact on their family, their primary concern is the nasty, destructive behavior they see currently practiced in political circles. The smart, highly skilled tenacious leaders that they are, they still question if their effort is better spent in social activist or other community career development work, rather than investing in political life. Without transformational change in our political culture we will never experience the full benefit of these women as political leaders.
Marilyn Merritt-Gray is a nurse and lifelong advocate for women’s health and rural services. She is the Green Party Candidate for Gagetown-Petticodiac.
November 15, 2017
''I am pleased to welcome Denis Boulet to our growing number of nominated candidates in advance of the upcoming election,” said Coon ”Denis will be a strong voice for the people of Madawaska-Les-Lacs-Edmundston, " said David Coon, leader of the Green party and MLA for Fredericton South.
Denis Boulet had this to say about his nomination: ''I'm honored to be given this opportunity to meet with the people of Madawaska, listen to their concerns, and discuss Green policies with them. While the Green Party may seem like a novelty at first, the bottom-up approach of the Greens harkens to the historic roots of our democracy. It echoes a social heritage shared by all the peoples of New Brunswick, in which any problem faced by a community can be solved as a community. I intend to run a campaign that will bring people together for the common good and empower communities. "
Denis Boulet is the sixth Green party candidate to be nominated. The next nomination meeting will occur on November 20th at the Kinsmen Club of Fredericton. Media Advisory to follow.
Fredericton - David Coon, Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick and MLA for Fredericton South, is insisting that the government, in partnership with NB Liquor, implement a comprehensive strategy aimed at alcohol harm reduction.
“We have been increasing the availability and visibility of alcohol in our province, with the appearance hard liquor amongst chips and skittles in our convenience stores” says Coon. “The Department of Health NB Liquor is neither tracking the effects of, nor implementing a public awareness campaign to address this increased availability.”
On October 31st Coon tabled a motion urging that the government, in partnership with NB Liquor, adopt a comprehensive strategy aimed at reducing alcohol harm that involves regulating prices, limiting the physical availability of alcohol and a public awareness campaign that promotes responsible alcohol consumption.
“Alcohol is the leading cause of injury and death in Canada,” said Coon. “Excessive drinking bears numerous known health risks including certain types of cancer. In 2012 it was found that 20.5% of alcohol consumers in New Brunswick exceeded the chronic alcohol drinking guidelines. It’s time our government prioritise the health of New Brunswickers and develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol related disease and death in the province.”
Fredericton - David Coon, Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick and MLA for Fredericton South, is urging the government to support his motions to give the Committees of the Legislature greater authority and autonomy.
“Our legislative committees currently lack the necessary authority to fulfill the mandates the Legislative Assembly gave them years ago. Whether it is examining the spending of public money by government departments, reviewing proposed legislation, or ensuring the recommendations of Legislative Officers such as the Child, Youth and Seniors Advocate, our committees are hamstrung,” said Coon.
Today, Coon tabled two motions. First, he wants members of the Legislature to give committees the authority to call for persons, papers, and documents.
“Just like most other parliaments in Canada, our legislative committees should have the ability to hear testimony from the public, representatives of groups, experts or public official to help us in our work to make laws, develop policy proposals, and recommend improvements to expenditure of public moneys by government departments,” said Coon.
Secondly, he tabled a motion that would mandate Legislative Officers, other than the Auditor General, to present their annual reports, and special reports containing recommendations, to the Standing Committee on Procedures, Privileges and Legislative Officers.
“The Standing Committee on Public Accounts is responsible for following up on the implementation of the recommendations made by the Auditor General, but at the moment, recommendations made by other Legislative Officers, such as the Child, Youth and Seniors Advocate, go nowhere. I believe the Standing Committee Responsible for Legislative Officers should be mandated to receive and follow-up on the reports and recommendations of all the other legislative officers,” said Coon.
“It is my hope that these motions receive the support of government and that we see them passed by the Legislature this session,” said Coon.