Fredericton - David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green party of New Brunswick is looking to Premier Gallant to improve public transportation in the province.
"Public transportation is an essential service to ensure New Brunswickers can access healthcare and employment, and travel for work and family obligations within our metropolitan areas and between our regions," said Coon. "The percentage of people who do not drive or drive rarely is rapidly increasing as our population ages, at the same time as public services are being centralized in our urban centres, requiring more travel to access them, yet no cabinet minister has yet been given the mandate to ensure New Brunswickers can travel without depending on private vehicle ownership.”
Premier Gallant needs to lay out his vision for public transportation in New Brunswick," said Coon. "The timing is perfect as he has just received recommendations from the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation’s task force on public transportation this month. New revenue from federal government for public transportation and from carbon pricing will provide funds to pay for improving access to public transportation in our cities, within our regions, and between them,” said Coon.
The Green Party leaders say a public transportation system for New Brunswick should include provincial support for:
- rural transit authorities, such as the Rural Lynx proposed for southwestern New Brunswick, to link towns and rural areas with public services and employment in urban centres
-expanding municipal transit services
- connecting urban centres through short-line rail in partnership with VIA Rail
"Most importantly, the Premier must give a member of his cabinet the mandate to establish an accessible and affordable public transportation system for New Brunswick," said Coon. “To this point, no one in government has held that mandate, leaving us with inadequate, incomplete, and inconvenient public transportation infrastructure.”
Fredericton –Today in the Legislative Assembly, Green party leader, David Coon’s bill, An Act to Amend the Education Act passed Third reading.
“My bill will ensure all students learn about the legacy of residential schools, the nature of our treaties and our shared histories, and the realities of indigenous people today,” said Coon. “This will help build the intercultural understanding and mutual respect necessary to move toward reconciliation.”
Coon’s bill is the oppostion member’s bill to be adopted by the Legislature since the beginning of the 58th assembly.
“It took collaboration from all members in the House to get my bill passed,” said Coon. “That is the kind of cooperation New Brunswickers are looking for from their elected representatives.”
David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick issued the following statement in recognition of International Worker’s Day:
“Today is International Workers’ Day. This day commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Massacre, when police fired on workers in Chicago during a general strike for the eight hour workday. Today the people of New Brunswick benefit from the sacrifice of these early labour protestors, but not all benefit equally.
Non-unionized staff, particularly in the service sector, have no protection against lay-off and are often forced to accept too many or too few shifts simply to maintain employment.
Government must act to create a provincial environment that fosters, supports, and respects labour unions. And for those working in non-unionized environments, we need labour laws that protect and empower all workers.”
Fredericton –Today in the Legislative Assembly, David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, will bring his amendments to the Crown Lands and Forests Act forward for Second reading. If passed, Bill 29, An Act to Amend the Crown Lands and Forests Act, will restore fairness to the forestry sector, incorporate First Nations and local communities in decision-making and ensure the long term ecological integrity of our forests.
“New Brunswickers would be appalled to learn that our Crown lands legislation doesn’t address ecological sustainability, fails to acknowledge Aboriginal treaty rights, or ensure fairness for private woodlot owners and independent sawmill operators,” said Coon. “My bill is a first step in addressing some of these glaring gaps in New Brunswick’s Crown Lands and Forests Act.”
In November 2015, 36 provincial organizations representing private woodlot owners, naturalists, conservationists, and recreational hunters and anglers came together with an additional 30 New Brunswick-based scientists and academics asking this government to develop a new Crown Lands and Forests act.
“This coalition of New Brunswickers wanted a new bill to state clear principles for managing public forests,” said Coon. “My bill would add a statement of purpose to the Act and further clarify the responsibilities of the minister in administering the act with the goal of sustaining the ecological integrity of Crown forests and restoring fairness to our forestry sector.”
Fredericton – David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick issued the following statement in recognition of Earth Day, April 22nd:
“Fiddleheads will be emerging along our riverbanks shortly – the indisputable harbinger of spring in New Brunswick and an enduring symbol of rebirth and renewal. Another sure sign of spring, is the emergence of wild queen bumblebees from their long winter hibernation in the soil, but I worry they will not find the spring flowers to feed on in our degraded forests.
While half of our forests are held in trust by the Province as Crown land, they have never regulated forestry activities to conserve habitat for spring flowers, or any other flower or shrub for that matter.
I have tabled a bill that will be debated at Second Reading, shortly after Earth Day. Its purpose is to amend the legislation governing the use of Crown lands to achieve sustainability, equity, fairness and justice. I hope this will reignite a public debate about how Crown lands are to be effectively managed for the protection of plant and wild life, and for the public good.”
Fredericton – David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick is hoping Atlantic Canadian premiers will discuss a common carbon pricing regime at their meeting in Saint John today, but Atlantic Canadians will be hard pressed to find out if they do.
“We share so many common challenges in our region, it’s time the Atlantic Premiers open up their regular meetings to public scrutiny, as is the case with First Ministers meetings. For example, the federal government requires the provinces to set their carbon pricing mechanism by 2018, but it is impossible to determine if the premiers are seriously discussing a common strategy,” said Coon.
The Green Party leader wants the four Atlantic provinces to collaborate in finding solutions to common social, economic and environmental problems.
The Council of Atlantic Premiers meet in Saint John, Wednesday morning.
Fredericton – David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick is encouraging the Premier to broaden the mandate for the review of property taxes.
“I was glad to see my call for a public inquiry to be led by a respected jurist was adopted by the Premier, but its mandate is too narrow,” said Coon. “I agree with the Premier, that we must rebuild the confidence of New Brunswickers in our property tax system, but this will only be possible if the system is reformed so that everyone is paying their fair share. Past political deals that see industrial and some business properties intentionally undervalued have to be scrapped.”
The Green Party leader wants the public inquiry to occur in two phases. Justice Roberts is to report on the circumstance by which many New Brunswickers were issued bogus property tax bills by August 1st. He says there should be a phase two of the public inquiry to examine the inequity in the property assessment system and recommend how it could be made fairer.
In the meantime, Coon wants the Premier to halt any further assessments using the new system, until Justice Robertson submits his report this summer.
Fredericton – David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick is calling on Finance Minister Cathy Rogers to initiate a public inquiry on restoring fairness to our property tax system.
“Sitting in the Legislative Assembly over the last three weeks I have heard the back and forth of my colleagues as each day brought forward some new injustice or mistake in property tax assessments for homeowners, landlords, small business owners, the City of Saint John and others,” said Coon. “The bickering back and forth has been heated, but all this energy has not cast light on a solution for New Brunswickers.”
In 2012, the Department of Finance published a White Paper on New Brunswick’s property tax system, concluding that ”Improving the fairness of the property tax system would require comprehensive reform.”
“We require an independent Commission of Inquiry, headed by a respected New Brunswicker, to develop recommendations that will bring the extensive reforms required to restore fairness to our property tax system,” said Coon.
“Today is the final day of sitting before the house adjourns for three weeks. New Brunswickers are looking for tangible action that will bring fairness to the property tax system. The Minister should announce her intend to establish the Commission of Inquiry today.”
Fredericton – David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick is calling on the Minister of Energy and Resource Development to plan forest activities on Crown land on a watershed basis to maintain adequate forest cover.
“During the public hearings of the select committee on climate change our committee heard repeatedly about the damaging consequences of widespread clear cutting to the health of our lakes and rivers,” said Coon. “Our committee recognized the important role of forests in minimizing flooding associated with damaging runoff and the resulting flooding. That is why our committee made a strong recommendation that the minister of Energy and Resource Development plan forest activities on a watershed basis from here on in.”
“World Water Day and the International Day of Forests both occur this week,” said Coon. “It’s the perfect time for the Minister to protect our watersheds by protecting our forests.”
Fredericton – David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick issued the following statement in recognition of International Women’s Day:
“International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of women, as well as to highlight the need for action to achieve equality.
While there has been significant progress in pursuing pay equity for women, the fact remains that the face of poverty is disproportionately female. Two-thirds of all minimum wage jobs in New Brunswick are filled by women. In Saint John, 25 percent of families are led by single mothers and over 40 percent of live below the poverty line.
In the role of primary caregivers without access to universal and affordable daycare, women are often restricted to working in the most insecure jobs, those that are part-time, seasonal or contractual.
In the long term, these factors contribute to a decreased ability to save for retirement, leading to a higher likelihood of being poor as seniors. According to the New Brunswick Health Council, 38% of women in their senior years live on low incomes, compared to 21% of senior men.
A Basic Income Guarantee would enable women to better invest in themselves and in their families, particularly for those receiving social assistance as the restrictions on work and savings would be eliminated. The experience of women during the pilot project that provided a basic income guarantee in Dauphin, Manitoba was that is served as an escape hatch from poverty.
PEI and Ontario plan to experiment with basic income guarantees. In the pursuit of economic justice for women, New Brunswick should institute its own pilot projects with basic income guarantees, as are planned in PEI and Ontario.”