Fredericton – Memramcook-Tantramar MLA Megan Mitton, who is the Green critic for Women’s Equality and Human Rights, tabled a motion in the Legislative Assembly today urging the government to tackle the issue of sexual violence in New Brunswick.
“We know from the statistics that sexual violence is a growing problem in New Brunswick. The numbers of reports of sexual violence have increased, while at the same time, the number of people charged with such a crime have dropped significantly,” said Mitton. “We also know that the risk of sexual assault is not distributed evenly across gender, sexual orientation, and race. The vast majority of victims are women, with almost half under the age of 18. In Canada, Indigenous women are three times as likely to face sexual violence and LGBTQ people are twice as likely.”
The Motion urges the government to:
- Fully implement and fund the recommendations and actions in Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence in New Brunswick: A Framework for Action;
- Examine the gaps in victims services provision through the Department of Justice and Public Safety, to identify and address gaps, especially in relation to where the crime occurred;
- Increase funding for frontline services, including transition houses;
- increase funding for trauma-informed support services, including access for all public post-secondary campuses
- Adopt legislation requiring standalone campus violence policies for all publicly-funded universities and including provisions ensuring student involvement in the drafting and amending process, as well as built in metrics to guarantee the clarity of the reporting structure at each institution.;
“I hope my colleagues will grasp the pervasiveness of sexual violence in New Brunswick and lend their support to fighting it,” said Mitton. “Sexual violence is not a women’s issue, but a societal issue that is complex by nature and requires a multi-faceted approach to see results. Government action in response this motion would be a step in the right direction.”
Fredericton – Megan Mitton, the MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar and Green Caucus Environment critic, is denouncing the Higgs government’s misspending of carbon tax revenue. The government has cut annual funding for energy efficiency retrofits on government buildings such as schools, hospitals and offices by $5 million, while investing the same amount into researching unproven small modular nuclear reactor technology.
“It is irresponsible for the government to redirect money from energy efficiency initiatives that would provide savings to taxpayers, while reducing our carbon footprint, and instead wasting it on unproven nuclear technology,” said Mitton. “Small modular nuclear reactors are neither clean nor green, so this is a totally inappropriate spending of climate change dollars that could instead be helping New Brunswickers save on their heating bills.”
Mitton also criticized the government for leaving $10 million in carbon tax revenue on the table by only spending $26 million of the $36 million budgeted. Meanwhile, there is no funding from the carbon tax to expand renewable energy despite requests from communities across the province and funding for Social Development’s energy efficiency program is insufficient to meet demand.
“We are in a climate emergency, and yet the Premier is choosing to use $10 million from the carbon tax revenue to help balance the budget,” said Mitton. “The government needs to invest every penny of carbon tax revenue into initiatives that would help save New Brunswickers money while reducing carbon emissions, such as Social Development’s energy efficiency program and the expansion of cheap renewable power.”
Fredericton – On Tuesday March 9th, MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar Megan Mitton announced that she is expecting a baby in June. She is working with the Legislative Assembly to lay out the protocols for an expecting MLA.
“It’s hard to believe that it is 2021 and there is no plan in place for when MLAs have babies,” said Mitton. “To me, that exemplifies how much work we still have to do to make political spaces - spaces traditionally occupied by men - more welcoming to women and other genders.”
Mitton is hoping to effect change in the Legislative Assembly rules so future members will know what to expect when they are expecting.
“We are navigating uncharted territory in New Brunswick. The changes needed range from small things like putting changing tables into the bathrooms around the legislative precinct to larger things like parental leave,” said Mitton. “This is an exciting opportunity to make changes that will open the door to younger people who want to run for office and have children. We need diversity in our Legislature to make sure that all New Brunswickers are represented.”
“Megan is blazing a trail to make the Legislature work for women and for families, and it is a major undertaking in this male-dominated institution,” said Green Party leader David Coon. “I’m looking forward to making these historic, but long overdue, changes with my colleagues on the Legislative Administrative Committee.”
FREDERICTON – Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton-South David Coon issued a statement today, in recognition of International Women’s Day:
“Today is International Women’s Day.
This year, I want to recognize the importance of women on the frontlines of the pandemic. Women are the pillars of our care system, whether in healthcare, special care and nursing homes, home care, transition houses, and daycares. Not to mention the vast amount of unpaid care work that women have disproportionately taken on during the pandemic, often while continuing to work their regular jobs.
Care work, whether paid or unpaid, must be recognized and valued.
The retail sector is also dominated by woman workers, facing the fears and anxiety of the pandemic head on, without the luxury of being behind a Zoom screen.
Words of recognition are nice, but wouldn’t it be even better if we could honour the work of women on the frontlines of the pandemic by ensuring that they are paid fairly for their work? We need to recognize that many woman-dominated fields remain sorely underpaid.
Let’s work to make sure that by the next International Women’s Day, women working in our care sector are fairly paid.”
FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick Green Caucus is reiterating its healthcare reform vision and priorities as the Health Minister launches her province-wide health consultation. The first virtual session will be taking place tonight in Sackville and will be followed by sessions in 14 other communities over the next two months.
“The government needs to take a holistic view of our healthcare systems and consider changes that will improve outcomes beyond ensuring accessible acute care and emergency services,” said Megan Mitton, Green Health critic and MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar. “This means implementing changes to improve mental health and addictions services, preventative healthcare, senior care, and addressing barriers, like lack of transportation to medical appointments, which disproportionately impacts rural areas.”
Green Party leader David Coon says the key to better health and better health care is to create an effective primary health care system that will ensure New Brunswickers easy access to their own health care team, which would include a mental health care practitioner.
“We need a new deal with family doctors that would see them integrated into primary health care teams that would ensure we receive the comprehensive health care we need, when we need it, to care for our physical and mental well-being” said Green Party leader David Coon. “This is the transformative change we need in health care.”
Greens Vision for Healthcare Reform Submitted to Health Minister: http://bit.ly/388RuIO.
Green Party Leader calls for a public inquiry into the handling of suicidal youth by the province’s ERs
In the wake of the death of 16-year-old Lexi Daken, Green Party leader David Coon wants the Department of Health to conduct a public inquiry into the handling of suicidal youth by the province’s emergency departments.
“New Brunswick’s health care system failed Lexi Daken and it has failed other young people with suicidal thoughts. Like Lexi, other teens who have taken their lives thought that by visiting the ER they would be admitted to a safe place where they would not be able to harm themselves and be treated. Instead, they were sent home where they took their own lives,” said Coon.
“There needs to be an inquiry to get to the bottom of this systemic problem in health care. In the short-term, steps should be taken immediately to add 24-hour emergency mental health services to the mental health walk-in clinics being established around the province,” said Coon.
SACKVILLE – On the one-year anniversary of the announcement of the Higgs government’s wrong-headed healthcare reform initiative, the Green caucus has released its healthcare reform submission to Health Minister Dorothy Shephard.
“Rather than cutting emergency health care services in rural hospitals, rural and urban New Brunswickers must have access to the health services they need, when they need them, and where they need them, ” said Megan Mitton, the Green Health critic and MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar. “Our healthcare system is in crisis, and we are saying the well-being of our citizens must be at the heart of the reforms.
The Green Caucus focuses on 6 pillars of reform in their statement:
- Local Decision-making: Create local community health boards to decide the services to be offered based on the needs and expectations of the people they serve.
- Primary Healthcare: Improve access to primary care by integrating family doctors with a variety of other health professionals, including nurse practitioners, social workers, dieticians, mental health specialists, and pharmacists.
- Mental Healthcare: Open walk-in mental health clinics around the province, have Medicare cover psychotherapy, and transform our mental health mobile crisis teams into 24-hour first responders.
- Community-Based Health Care: Establish community health centres across the province staffed by a variety of health professionals, addressing the shortcomings of our current system, such as access to midwives, health services for the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and harm-reduction initiatives.
- Emergency Health Care: Replace the dynamic deployment model used for paramedics with a community-based approach. The current model allows urban areas to be under-supported, requiring paramedics to be drawn away from rural areas to provide support, leaving those communities exposed.
- Preventative Health Care: Provide Public Health the resources to implement targeted preventative health initiatives that would prevent cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
“The global pandemic has brought into sharper focus the improvements needed to bring New Brunswick’s health care system into the 21st century,” said Mitton. “The ideas we bring forward in this submission are not new. They are ideas that have been implemented and are highly successful elsewhere in Canada.”
FREDERICTON – In response to Premier Higgs State of the Province speech this afternoon, Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton South David Coon released the following statement:
“Premier Higgs has drawn a line in the sand on environmental action and a transition to a green economy during the State of the Province address, and he is standing against it. The Premier has firmly anchored self on the wrong side of history in order to maintain the status quo. He is ignoring the efforts of local businesses to expand renewable energy development but handing $20 million to foreign nuclear power developers to weigh us down with more costly and dangerous waste-generating nuclear technology. He came out firmly against the application of Canada’s clean fuel standard to the Irving Oil refinery while backing their application to the EUB to increase the price of heating oil, gasoline and diesel.Continue reading
Green Party Leader says State of the Province must prioritize well-being, healthy communities and the environment
The state of our province is dependent on the well-being of our people, the health of our communities and the integrity of our environment, says Green Party leader David Coon, the MLA for Fredericton-South. According to Coon, the Premier’s State of the Province address must speak to how he intends to help New Brunswickers get through the pandemic, while confronting inequality and the degradation of our environment.
“It is imperative that people have access to paid sick leave and lodgings for self-isolation in order to follow public health rules,” said the Green Party leader. “And rent increases must be capped so people don’t find themselves forced to hunt for a new apartment in a tight rental market during the pandemic.”
Coon says the lack of targeted support for those small businesses hit the hardest by the pandemic, such as restaurants and bars, is causing their owners to fear they won’t survive to see the other side, while the care sector is struggling to recruit workers when the pay is poor and the working conditions are atrocious.Continue reading
ROGERSVILLE – Green Party Agriculture critic Kevin Arseneau is calling on the provincial government to support New Brunswick farmers who are facing a hay shortage due to last summer’s extreme drought.
“I’ve spoken to farmers across the province who have told me that they had never witnessed a drought like last summer,” said Arseneau. “When reaching out for help through the Department of Agriculture, one farmer even told me he was blamed for not growing his hay properly.”
Arseneau is specifically asking the provincial government to help in coordinating bulk hay purchases and cover the costs of transporting hay from out of province. He points to a similar hay shortage in 2002 in the prairies where the federal and provincial governments collaborated to cover the cost of rail transport from eastern provinces.
“Farmers have known since August that they could not grow enough hay for the winter because of the dry conditions,” said Arseneau. “When I asked the Minister about this in December, she acknowledged this impact of climate crisis on our province. Something should have been done a long time ago -- not now when farmers are facing the real prospect of having to sell their cattle to avoid seeing them starve to death.”