Time to Start Down the Road to Reconciliation: Statement by the Green party leader on National Aboriginal Day

Fredericton – David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick issued the following statement in recognition of National Aboriginal Day:

“Today is National Aboriginal Day. Two years ago, this month the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released 94 calls to action for governments and educational institutions to begin down the road of reconciliation with First Nations.

Universities across our province have been responding, but our provincial government has been silent on its efforts. Implementing the TRC Calls to Action in New Brunswick is a first step toward reconciliation. This is not an indigenous issue, this is a societal issue for all New Brunswickers. Premier Gallant needs to break his silence and tell New Brunswickers how he intends to lead our Province down a path of reconciliation with the Wolastoqiyik, Passamaquoddy and Mi’kmaq peoples.

My bill to amend the Education Act to mandate the inclusion of First Nations culture and history in public school curricula passed with the support of all parties in the Legislature. This implements one of the TRC Calls to Action. It’s a start, but 93 Calls to Action remain to be acted upon.”

CANADA DAY: REFLECTING ON OUR PAST, BUILDING A FUTURE TOGETHER

Fredericton – David Coon, Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick and MLA for Fredericton South made the following statement in recognition of Canada Day:

“For many today is a day of celebration: families and friends will gather over the long weekend to celebrate the day, 150 years ago, that New Brunswick and Nova Scotia agreed to join with the Province of Canada to establish a country, where people of different cultures could live in harmony. This vision goes back to what has been called Champlain’s dream, the dream of a society based on peace and tolerance.

These ideals are at the centre of our peace and friendship treaties with the Wolastoqiyik, Passamaquoddy and Mi’kmaq – the original peoples of this part of Canada. However, we have not lived up to the treaties, causing much suffering for indigenous people and their communities. My wish is that we see Canada 150 as the point at which we decisively move toward reconciliation, redress past injustices, and restore title to indigenous lands as was contemplated by the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that was enshrined in our constitution 150 years ago.”

Green Party Leader proposes path to meet NB climate change targets

Fredericton – Today, on Clean Air Day, David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green party of New Brunswick is proposing a path to achieve New Brunswick’s carbon pollution reduction targets.

“By 2030, over the next 12 years, we have committed to cut our collective carbon pollution by 4 million tonnes,” said Coon. “Most of our carbon pollution comes from power plants that burn coal, oil and natural gas, from the Irving Oil Refinery, from driving and trucking, and from heating our buildings. The rapid development of our abundant renewable energy resources and the improvement of our homes and buildings will substantially reduce our carbon footprint.”

Coon is suggesting the following initiatives as a path to eliminate 4 million tonnes of carbon pollution over a dozen years.

· Provide zero interest energy efficiency loans to help us retrofit our homes and businesses, and upgrade to heat pump, biofuel, and solar heating systems, which will significantly cut our energy bills and shrink our carbon footprint.

· Provide provincial support to municipal and regional transit systems which will reduce the costs of commuting and cut carbon pollution from the transportation sector.

· Mandate NB Power to establish the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and ensure new vehicle purchased for government are electric, and biodiesel for heavy equipment.

· Institute a program to support decentralized and district power generation with solar, wind, and biofuels to provide electricity as close to the power consumer as possible.

· Regulate the allowable carbon pollution from the oil refinery under the Clean Air Act.

“Improving our homes and businesses, and harnessing energy from the sun, from wood, and from the wind over the next dozen years will help New Brunswick’s many new start-up businesses in the green energy sector to grow and prosper so they create employment, and save us money for heat, power and fuel,” said Coon. “Building this economy for the 21st century must be a priority for Premier Gallant, so he must avoid the temptation to waste public money attracting the polluting industries of the 20th century.”

NB Greens welcome Green-NDP agreement in BC

The New Brunswick Green Party is applauding the efforts of the BC Green Party and BC NDP to forge a stable government for the people of British Columbia.

“I want to congratulate Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and NDP leader John Horgan in reaching an agreement to offer the kind of government that so many British Columbians have been seeking. This kind of collaboration between parties is the hallmark of parliaments around the world that have proportional representation,” said New Brunswick Green Party leader David Coon.

The BC Greens elected three Green MLAs on May 9th, giving them the balance of power in the Legislative Assembly. Leaders of provincial Green parties hold seats in the legislatures of British Columbia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, along with the federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May who is serving her second term in the House of Commons. This is the first time that more than a single Green MLA has been elected to a Canadian parliament.

“New Brunswickers have felt poorly served by the governments they elect for over a decade, defeating each of them after only a single term since the election of 2006. We can’t afford another majority government in 2018. New Brunswickers would be better served by a minority government that forced the parties to collaborate, as is happening in British Columbia” said Coon.

Green Party Leader looking for provincial leadership on public transportation

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.”

GREEN PARTY LEADER’S BILL TO FOSTER INTERCULTURAL UNDERSTANDING PASSES INTO LAW

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.”

STATEMENT BY THE GREEN PARTY LEADER ON INTERNATIONAL WORKER’S DAY

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.”

BILL TO RESTORE FAIRNESS TO FORESTRY SECTOR TO HAVE SECOND READING

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.”

EARTH DAY: CALL TO ACTION TO PROTECT FOREST HABITAT

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.”

OPEN ATLANTIC PREMIER MEETINGS TO PUBLIC SCRUTINY

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.

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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