Coon says Official Languages Act Review should be Conducted by Legislators

Commissioners Should Investigate Second Language Training

FREDERICTON – Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton South David Coon says that a public review of the Official Languages Act should be conducted by a committee of the Legislature, not by commissioners appointed by the Premier. 

“MLAs are the lawmakers in this Province, and it should be MLAs who recommend to the Legislative Assembly how the Official Languages Act can be improved to advance the equality of New Brunswick’s two official languages and two official language communities,” said Coon.  “My colleague Kevin Arseneau proposed that a Standing Committee on Official Languages be created 18 months ago, and its first task should be to conduct this review, but this fell on deaf ears.”

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Green Party Leader Calls for Public Funding of Public Transportation

A handful of municipalities are looking to use some of their property tax revenue in a last-ditch effort to try to maintain bus service for their communities to connect people with healthcare services, work, and school. With Maritime Bus set to end routes to Campbellton and Edmundston as soon as tomorrow, New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon is calling on Premier Higgs to use revenue from gas taxes to fund inter-city bus service.

“Public transportation is a public good, that needs to be publicly funded,” said David Coon, Leader of New Brunswick’s Green Party. “Everywhere else in Canada 50 percent of the costs of public transportation is publicly funded, with the balance coming from ticket sales.  In a province where so many people lack the ability or income necessary to drive, yet need to doctor frequently because of high rates of chronic disease and cancer, it is atrocious that the Government of New Brunswick will not provide funding to support this essential transportation infrastructure.”

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Green party leader calls on Premier to use carbon windfall to keep buses on the roads

FREDERICTON – Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton South David Coon says the Higgs government should use its unexpected carbon rebate from the federal government to keep buses on the road in New Brunswick.

“It is just wrong to leave people living in the northern half of the province stranded without public transportation services. It is blatantly discriminatory. Not everyone can afford a car.  Some are unable to drive. Bus service is essential when you no longer have a rail system, and it is an essential part of meeting our emission reduction targets” said Coon.

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Green party leader says cuts to bus services will reduce access to healthcare for some New Brunswickers

The immediate impact of today’s announcement by Maritime Bus that it is cutting public transportation service to much of New Brunswick, will be to substantially reduce access to health care services for New Brunswickers of modest means, according to David Coon, the Leader of New Brunswick’s Green Party and MLA for Fredericton-South.

“Public transportation is an essential service for anyone who cannot afford to own a car or is unable to drive,” said Coon. “I am calling on Premier Higgs to join with his colleagues in Nova Scotia and PEI to negotiate a contribution agreement that will keep the buses on our roads, just as Premiers King and McNeil already have done.”

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Greens Hoping Third Time Will be the Charm for Local Food Security Bill

Fredericton – On December 16, Green Party critic for Agriculture and MLA for Kent North, Kevin Arseneau, tabled a bill for the third time from the Greens calling on the province to create and maintain a sustainable, self-sufficient local food industry that puts people’s need for food at the centre of policies. 

“We only produce 8 percent of the fruits and vegetables we consume in the province,” said Arseneau. “In the spring Premier Higgs committed to increasing the local supply of food here in New Brunswick, so that is why I am bringing the bill forward for the third time.”

The bill aims to strengthen and ensure a sustainable local food economy in New Brunswick, promote local food procurement and access for public institutions, improve the health of New Brunswickers through increased availability of fresh local food and provide students with food, agriculture and garden-based education in schools.  

“We have been trying to move this file forward since Green Party leader David Coon first tabled a similar bill in 2015, but it was defeated by the Liberals” said Arseneau. “With grocery prices expected to rise significantly next year, it is vital that we act now to produce more food here in New Brunswick that supports sustainable livelihoods and respects the work of all food providers.”

On another Agricultural related topic, MLA Arseneau extends his solidarity to the tens of thousands of farmers in India who continue to protest new agricultural laws undermining small-scale food producers by rendering them vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations.

Green Caucus urges Premier to make investments to curb child poverty

FREDERICTON – With the release of the Saint John Human Development Council’s Child Poverty Report Card for 2020, Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton South David Coon is calling on Premier Higgs to implement the report’s key recommendations to curb child poverty in New Brunswick.

“We know the solutions to child poverty, but in order to address this problem, the Premier needs to be willing to invest money in improving the lives of New Brunswick families,” said Coon.  “By making investments to increase social assistance rates, support local food production and build more affordable housing, the Premier could make a big difference in the lives of New Brunswick families.”

The Human Development Council’s report found that 26 communities in New Brunswick have a child poverty rate over 30 percent. The seven communities with the highest rates are all First Nations communities, with Esgenoôpetitj having the highest at 71.8%. Three of the fourteen communities with the highest levels of child poverty are in Green MLA Kevin Arseneau’s riding of Kent North.

“While the Premier and Minister of Social Development are not presented with child poverty in their ridings on a regular basis, since Quispamsis and Riverview have among the lowest child poverty rates in the province,  I see it daily in my riding, and it is heartbreaking,” said Kevin Arseneau, MLA for Kent North. “The Premier needs to act now to reduce poverty, so all kids in New Brunswick have a fighting chance at a decent life.”

Coon wants Premier to ensure Atlantic Premiers present a common front at First Ministers meeting

FREDERICTON – Ahead of the First Ministers meeting between the Prime Minister and the Premiers on Thursday December 10, Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton South David Coon is calling on Premier Higgs to first meet with his Atlantic counterparts to ensure they present a common front for a demographic adjustment to the Canada Health Transfer.

“The political history of Atlantic Canada teaches us that if we don’t hang together in dealing with the federal government we hang alone,” said Coon.  “It is essential that Premier Higgs take the leadership here, like his predecessors have in times of change, and bring Andrew Fury, Stephen McNeil and Dennis King to the table to ensure the Atlantic Canadian Premiers present a common front to other first ministers.”

Coon wants Higgs to initiate a meeting among the Atlantic premiers prior to the First Minister meeting to hammer out an agreement on a demand for a demographic adjustment to the Canada Health Care transfer.

“Our needs in this region of the country are unique because of our distinct demographics, making the simplistic per capita funding formula profoundly unfair, prejudicing our ability to deliver health care services on an equitable basis to Atlantic Canadians,” said Coon. “The current formula is unjust to Atlantic Canada, so we must stand up for ourselves at the First Ministers meeting.”

Youth Losing Hope in Government Commitments to Climate Action

As Canada and the world grapple with the climate crisis, on the 4th anniversary of the launch of a provincial climate action plan, Green Party leader David Coon is wondering why New Brunswick’s government seems oblivious to the fact the planet’s climate is rapidly destabilizing.

NB Power has just released its latest 20-year resource plan, but its emphasis is on extending the life of its fossil fuel plants, not replacing them with hydroelectric, wind and solar power.

The Electricity Act’s target for renewable energy expires at the end of the month, but the Higgs government has failed to set a new renewable energy target1.

Three years have passed without any action since the tabling of a public transportation strategy for New Brunswick in 2017.

“Our youth no longer have the confidence that governments will make the changes necessary to stop a climate calamity,” said David Coon, Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton-South.  “We are failing them.”

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Green Party leader calls for Higgs government to commit to an ambitious renewable energy target

FREDERICTON - Green Party leader David Coon is calling on the Higgs government to commit to an ambitious target to grow the renewable energy industry in New Brunswick, rather than continuing down path of expensive and risky nuclear power generation.

The legally regulated target set by Bernard Lord in 2006 to supply New Brunswickers with 10 percent of our electricity needs from new sources of locally produced renewable energy has now been achieved.  That regulation expires in three weeks without any commitment from the Higgs government to a new target for further expanding locally produced renewable energy in New Brunswick.

“A reasonable target would be to double the local supply of renewable electricity by 2030,” said Coon.  “Pairing this with a long-term contract for 700 to 1000 MW of hydroelectricity from Labrador and Quebec would substantially increase our supply of affordable electricity while laying the foundation to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

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Green Party leader calls for better supports for small businesses during pandemic’s second wave

Fredericton – New Brunswick Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton South David Coon is calling on the Higgs government to provide support for those small businesses, such as cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars hit hardest by the second wave of the COVID and the public health measures needed to fight it.

“Businesses in the hospitality and accommodations sector are really struggling, especially those dealing with orange phase rules.  Should any region have to return to red, businesses in the fitness sector will join them.” said Coon. “It is time for the Premier to help those businesses as his colleagues in Nova Scotia and PEI have done.”

Coon is calling on the Premier to do three things:

  1. Create a grant program of up to $5,000 per month to support small, independently owned dine-in restaurants, bars, and fitness and leisure establishments impacted by public health directives in the orange zones, or potential future red zones.

  2. Create a Workspace Adaption Assistance Fund to retroactively offer grants for small businesses for expenses that were directly related to implementing safety measures of a COVID-19 operational plan.

  3. Help small businesses reduce their costs by supporting energy efficiency upgrades with targeted loans and technical advice designed to achieve 15% to 35% savings on their energy bills.  This will also create work for local trades people and business for local suppliers.

“It is in the public interest for our local economies to weather the COVID storm, so public investment in the small businesses most affected by COVID measures is urgently needed,” said Coon.  “Small businesses are the backbone of our local economies and need our support.

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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