FREDERICTON – David Coon, Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, released the following statement following the swearing-in of the new provincial cabinet:
“I want to congratulate all of the government MLAs who have joined or re-joined the provincial cabinet on their appointments today.
The decision to separate Local Government from Environment and give the Minister responsibility for Local Governance Reform has the potential to strengthen local democracy and self-determination, should that be the mandate the Premier has in mind.
This decision also returned the Department of Environment to a stand-alone department, but this must not result in a reduction in its staff and capacity to function as an effective regulatory agency, and to implement the provincial action strategies on climate, water quality, and waste reduction.
I was dismayed to see the Premier eliminate a dedicated Minister with responsibility for Indigenous Affairs when there is so much work to be done to build a relationship that respects indigenous, treaty and land rights, while rooting out systemic racism.
With the major challenges we face to ensure New Brunswickers have access to the health care services, I look forward to working with the new Minister of Health Dorothy Shephard with whom I have developed a strong working relationship while she was Minister of Social Development.
I will continue as a member of the COVID Cabinet Committee, as it resumes its regular work on Thursday. We have much work to do in order to help keep New Brunswickers safe, secure and healthy as we navigate through the pandemic.”
FREDERICTON –New Brunswick’s proposal to regulate industrial carbon emissions that was accepted by the federal government, contravenes New Brunswick’s own Climate Change Actaccording to Green Party Leader David Coon.
The purpose of Section 7.01 of the Climate Change Act is to regulate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve New Brunswick’s legislated emission targets for 2030 and 2050. The planned regulation comes nowhere close says Coon.
“While our own Climate Change Act targets a 27% reduction in carbon emissions between 2020 and 2030, the Higgs’ regulation is designed to cut industrial emissions by only 10%, making it among the weakest in the entire country,” said Coon. “And if industry fails to achieve this modest reduction, their only penalty will be to pay a miniscule carbon tax.”
“It is time for the Premier to actually treat the climate crisis as the emergency it is,” said Coon.
David Coon, leader of the Green Party, says he will replace the bridge linking the Lamèque and Miscou islands with Shippagan and the rest of the Acadian Peninsula within the prescribed time frame, which is no later than 2022.
"A Green government won't play politics with infrastructure projects whose timelines are based on public safety standards. Safety must transcend any political or partisan considerations," said Mr. Coon.
When the bridge closes, the two islands become totally isolated, as was the case during the recent ice storm in the region.
"This link is vital to the fishing, peat and berry industry that thrives on the islands. It is also vital for the survival of the Lamèque and Miscou community health centers, whose 40% of their employees come from outside these two islands. The same goes for access to educational and university institutions," says Marie Leclerc, Green Party candidate in Shippagan-Lamèque-Miscou.
The Lamèque-Shippagan Bridge is the essential daily road link for more than 10,000 people. It is a matter of medical emergency, economic, social and educational security, according to the candidate. Nearly 8,000 vehicles pass through it every day, including more than 400 heavy vehicles.*
This morning Green Party leader David Coon announced that a Green government would reinstate the Tuition Access Bursary for students with an income under $60,000.
“I was astounded this week when I discovered that neither the Liberal Party nor the Progressive Conservative party are offering any assistance for students in their election platforms," said Coon. “I have heard the concerns of students and unlike the other parties I am prepared to act.”
Coon also announced that a Green government would
- Make it easier to qualify for the Free Tuition Program, and student loans, by eliminating the provincial credit checks associated with the loan application.
- Reinstitute the Timely Completion Benefit so that anyone graduating within five years, would have a maximum of $20,000 in debt.
- Eliminate interest on provincial student loans.
"Greens take students seriously, and we will work to ensure that our youth can launch into life with a good post-secondary education, without being dragged down by massive debt,” said Coon.
This morning Green Party leader David Coon announced that a Green government would immediately increase the funding to the Chief Medical Officer’s office, as well as the regional offices around the province.
“The budget of the public health department has been hacked away at for years," said Coon. “I would provide the Chief Medical Officer with the resources necessary to help guide New Brunswickers through the COVID-19 pandemic, without sacrificing other pressing public health initiatives .”
Coon also announced that a Green government would ensure that the Chief Medical Officer is truly independent and able to make reports and recommendations on issues that affect the health of New Brunswickers.
"The Chief Medical Officer needs to be able to make reports and recommendations on issues that affect the health of New Brunswickers without repercussions, no matter how inconvenient it may be for the government,” said Coon.
Green Party leader commits to increasing minimum wage and employment standards for New Brunswick workers
This morning Green Party leader David Coon announced that a Green government would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and guarantee sick leave, vacation, and paid overtime for all workers under the Employment Standards Act.
“The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how many workers in our economy are truly essential, but are undervalued," said Coon. “While many New Brunswickers continue to work from home today, workers in these sectors continued to go to work everyday, so that we continue to receive essential goods and services.”
Coon also announced that a Green government would offer wage subsidies to help cover the cost of the minimum wage increase for small businesses and non-profits that do not have enough revenue or profit to pay for the minimum wage increase.
"These are difficult times for small businesses, as well as their employees,” said Coon. “A Green government would be there to help small businesses make these adjustments.”
Party Leader David Coon released the Green Party’s 2020 election platform today in Fredericton.
“We have two priorities: to keep New Brunswickers safe and secure in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to chart a path to recovery from COVID-19 that puts the well-being of people, and communities at the heart of government decision-making, while protecting the natural environment on which we utterly depend,” said Coon.
The Green Party platform is divided into three themes:
- Rebuilding Good Government and Public Services
- Building the Green Economy
- Building a Green Society
To view the entire platform click here: https://greennbvert.ca/platform/.
"Our platform outlines how the Greens will implement the necessary supports for people and small businesses to get through the pandemic now, so they can thrive when we come out the other end of this,” said Coon. “And it provides the details on how we will assure, we not only recover from the pandemic as a society and economy, but how we will flourish in the future.”
“A Green government will spend money where it matters, not where it doesn’t. The purpose of government is to service the public good,” said Coon. “We are offering New Brunswickers the real green deal for our province, where the government works for the well-being of all with compassion and respect.”
Green Party Leader David Coon announced this afternoon that a Green government would mandate NB Power to use 100% renewable sources energy by 2035.
"With vastly improved energy efficiency, on-shore and off-shore wind, solar farms, storage technologies, and long-term purchases of hydropower from Quebec and Labrador, we can become 100% renewable in 15 years, and avoid generating power with plutonium or fossil fuels,” said Coon.
Coon committed to providing zero-interest loans for solar panels and energy efficiency measures such as new insulation and windows. He also committed to amending the Electricity Act to break down the barriers for municipalities, First Nations or housing developers looking to buy or produce renewable energy for their own use.
“Mr. Higgs and Mr. Vickers are clinging to their 20th century ideas about energy as the climate crisis intensifies,” said Coon. “But, the path is clear. The future must be renewable to be Green, and with decades of experience in energy policy, I know how to get us there.
Green Party Leader David Coon was in Nigadoo at noon today to present the mandate of the Department of Rural Affairs and Community Development and its strategy towards internet access for all regions of New Brunswick.
According to David Coon, development must be thought in the light of the climate emergency. "The economic recovery plan must be part of the solution rather than adding to the problem. The recovery must be green and fair," he said at a press conference. Supported by provincial funding and appropriate policies, he said local and regional communities will need to chart their own course, building on their unique assets, culture and territory.
This new department will be responsible for developing and implementing a regional development policy, support for renewable energy production and the protection and development of agricultural land.
"This department will operate with a decentralized structure and decision-making authority to support regional development and will be financially supported through the Northern Fund, which we will re-establish with other funds specific to the needs of the regions," said the Green leader. "New Brunswickers want to be more self-sufficient and we can. All we need to do is tap into the creativity and vital energy that already exists in our communities. »
The Green platform also tackles the glaring problem of internet access in rural areas, highlighted by the pandemic. "All regions of the province must have access to quality internet service. We will accelerate our efforts to provide high-speed Internet access to all New Brunswick citizens and businesses," said Coon. To achieve this, he plans to require Internet providers to submit a solid action plan within the next six months and to have it in place within a year. If they fail to provide a concrete plan, "we are prepared to create a crown corporation to provide Internet access to all regions of our province. The time for half-measures is over. It is time for action," said Coon.
By David Coon
COVID-19 has tested us in ways that we haven’t been for generations. New Brunswickers have shown immense personal strength through these times. Poet Fred Cogswell captured this in his poem, appropriately entitled New Brunswick.
“Not soft soil where we root together,” Cogswell wrote. But “To grow up slow and endure for long . . .All our beauty is our stubborn strength,” he concluded.
As I have travelled the province this summer, I have been reminded how we are rooted together in this place by geography, history, and our stubborn strength.
During a meeting with Chief Bill Ward in Metepenagiag, he told me that his community had been inhabited continuously for 3,000 years. Our host at La Maison Mer de Cocagne, told me how Cocagne is where the very first Acadian families to own their own land after the deportation settled. This summer I walked the land on Grand Manan that my wife’s loyalist ancestors settled to establish successful fisheries after being exiled by the American government.