Happy Canada Day!
Best holiday wishes to all our members, from the Green Party of New Brunswick Provincial Council, our leader, MLAs, staff and volunteers.
Highlights from our first online AGM
Due to COVID-19, this was our first attempt at hosting our AGM online, and many were curious about what it would look like. The post-AGM survey found that most members attending were satisfied with the online compromise and its delivery, with 95% reporting it was worthwhile to attend. We heard very clearly from members that the chosen online format did not support discussion well. We have taken note of your comments and suggestions to ensure we do better in future online meetings.
The survey revealed that our Leader's report was the AGM highlight for many. Another highlight was the adoption of this emergency resolution by the assembly: In response to the killing of Chantel Moore and the death of Brady Francis, the Annual General Meeting of the Green Party of New Brunswick supports the call by the chiefs of the Wolastoqey First Nation for the Government of New Brunswick to initiate an inquiry into the treatment of indigenous people by the province's justice system. You can read the press release that we sent to the media.
News from the ridings
The Fredericton South Green Party Association's recent webinar on Guaranteed Livable Income is now a video. You can watch the video here. The webinar features a discussion with MLA and Green Party leader David Coon and experts on the topic including a photographer who has documented the effects on GLI recipients.
News from Green MLAs
Our Green MLAs were very busy in the Legislature in June. Here's some key achievements and actions. For more information, click on the headline.
The Greens have published a set of 9 principles to guide the path forward in New Brunswick’s recovery from COVID-19 shutdown. “We cannot go back to what was once normal,” said David Coon, Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton-South. “These principles will guide our assessment of government’s initiatives, and the development of our proposals to support people and help local businesses survive in the short-term and thrive in the long-term.”
MLA Megan Mittons’s bill, An Act to Amend the Education Act, passed Second reading in the Legislative Assembly. The bill would enshrine the teaching of Indigenous languages in New Brunswick’s public education curriculum. “Indigenous languages have been systematically attacked for generations in the residential school system and subsequently ignored in public schools. It’s time to begin dismantling the systemic racism responsible for this loss of language,” said Mitton, the Green Party Education Critic. The bill is now referred to the Standing Committee on Economic Policy for further study and possible amendments, scheduled for July.
Kevin Arseneau, MLA for Kent-North, tabled An Act to Amend the Industrial Relations Act. The bill aims to ban the use of replacement workers during a strike or lockout, and is modelled after legislation in British Columbia. “As we have seen with the recent situation at the Allardville landfill, the use of replacement workers in New Brunswick is a big problem,” says Arseneau. “The use of these workers decreases the bargaining power for unionized workers and is contrary to the principle of good-faith negotiations.”
Green Party critic for Agriculture and MLA for Kent North Kevin Arseneau tabled a bill to ensure the province creates and maintains a sustainable, self-sufficient local food industry. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that we need to ensure that we can produce a sufficient supply of food to feed New Brunswickers here at home,” says Arseneau. “We only produce 8 percent of the fruits and vegetables we consume in the province. We need to do better.”
Green Party Leader and MLA for Fredericton-South David Coon tabled a motion today urging the government to promote and develop jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency and public transportation. “We can’t self-isolate from the climate crisis as we are during this pandemic,” said Coon. “The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to make ground-breaking changes in our economy, so now is the time to jump-start a New Brunswick economy that is sustainable, resilient, and puts people to work in well-paying jobs.”
Megan Mitton, MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar, tabled a motion urging the government to increase protections for non-unionized workers by giving all workers access to at least five paid sick days, with ten additional days during emergency situations such as a health pandemic; increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next two years; and ensuring all employees receive overtime pay of one and a half times their wage. “The COVID pandemic has made it clear that our essential workers, who often make minimum wage and have no access to paid sick leave, are undervalued,” says Mitton.
Kevin Arseneau, MLA for Kent-North, tabled a motion to end the concentration of media ownership in New Brunswick. “Having a free, competitive, and diverse media landscape is absolutely crucial to a well-functioning democracy,” said Arseneau. “The level of media concentration in this province is unheard of in the rest of the developed world." Currently, all daily English-language newspapers in New Brunswick and 71% of weekly newspaper circulation are owned by Brunswick News.
Abstaining from the vote on eliminating the parental exemption from our mandatory vaccination law was not a decision made lightly by our caucus. We don't oppose eliminating the parental exemption to New Brunswick’s mandatory vaccination law, if there is evidence that its use is putting students' health at risk. The decision must be made on evidence, because the consequences are that some children would be barred from attending school. No such evidence was presented. In fact the Minister of Education told the committee studying the bill that it was not about public health, it was not about current vaccination rates in public schools, and never was.
Read “Why I abstained on Bill 11” by Green Party Leader David Coon, also published as a guest commentary in the Brunswick News papers.
The Legislative Assembly is recessed until September 15. Some committee work will continue through the summer. As well, David Coon, Kevin Arseneau and Megan Mitton will continue to work on behalf of their constituents and all New Brunswickers. The MLAs and staff are at work even though the riding offices are temporarily closed to in-person meetings. Click here to find out how to get in touch with them.
Stay safe. Stay strong.
Green Party of New Brunswick
403 Regent Street, Suite 102,
Fredericton, NB, E3B 3X6
Office: (506) 447-8499