FREDERICTON – David Coon, New Brunswick’s Green Party Leader, is calling on Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland to resign his cabinet seat because he wrote the Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) to tell them how he thinks it should deal with an Irving Oil application to increase wholesale charges on fuel oil, gasoline and diesel.
“This was an egregious abuse of power by the Minister, to try to influence the work of the EUB,” said Coon. “The EUB is an independent and quasi-judicial regulator that makes legally-binding rulings based on the evidence provided to them, and on the strength of the arguments made by the applicant and official intervenors. The Minister must be held to account for trying to influence the work of the EUB,” said Coon.
Irving Oil is seeking an increase on the wholesale charges permitted in New Brunswick by the EUB on furnace oil, gasoline and diesel fuel. If granted, wholesale charges would increase between 63 and 75 percent.
FREDERICTON – Green Party Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries critic and MLA for Kent North Kevin Arseneau released the following statement today on the government’s new “Local Food and Beverages Strategy: 2021-2025.”
“This is the first time New Brunswick has had a concrete local food strategy, so it’s a good first step. It comes after Greens have been pushing for a strategy for six years, since Green Party leader David Coon first tabled his Local Food Security Act bill in 2015. I am pleased to see that the strategy finally includes a definition for local food and that the government is admitting that there are economic opportunities in increasing food self-sufficiency.
However, ultimately the merit of the strategy will be judged on how it is implemented. The Minister must set concrete targets and timelines for government procurement of local food, increasing the area of production for fruit and vegetables, and expanding the number of and distribution of abattoirs.
Food sovereignty in New Brunswick cannot happen if we continue to hand over our food system to corporate monopolies and encourage industrial practices. Instead, the government must support small and medium-scale farmers and encourage cooperatives and local autonomy over our food systems.
I look forward to working with the Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries to ensure that this strategy is implemented in a way that benefits New Brunswick farmers, harvesters and consumers.”
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.”Continue reading
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.”Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.”Continue reading
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”Continue reading