Green Party Leader David Coon announced today that a Green government would make New Brunswick’s property tax system fairer for small business and residential taxpayers.
“For far too long, heavy industry in New Brunswick has received unfair tax breaks leaving small businesses and homeowners paying an unfair share of provincial property taxes,” said Coon. “A Green government would amend the New Brunswick Assessment Act to bring fairness to the system.”
In Saint John, for example, homeowners contribute 61% of all property taxes while heavy industry pays just eight percent. The Saint John Regional Hospital’s annual property tax bill is $4.5 million while Irving Oil pays just $2.6 million in property taxes for their refinery.
“The property tax system has become corrupted”, said Coon. “And I am going to clean it up.”
The Green Party leader committed to eliminating a loophole which enables heavy industry to receive property tax cuts if their income declines, something unavailable to any other class of taxpayer.
“If you lose your job or you have lost business, government is not going to cut your property tax bill like they do for heavy industry. It is unbelievably unfair,” said Coon.
Coon said he would also end the tax breaks heavy industry receives on industrial machinery and heavy equipment, and cancel the tax exemption Irving Oil receives on its tank farm.
Green Party Leader David Coon announced today that a government led by him will take bold action to ensure people living with disabilities are fully included in New Brunswick society.
“While we have successfully included children with disabilities into our school system, we fail to include people with disabilities in our broader society. Greens are committed to building an inclusive New Brunswick for the 26.7 percent of New Brunswickers who are living with at least one disability. That’s the second highest rate in the entire country,” said Coon.
Coon committed to four actions he would take in his first 100 days in office.
Scrap government’s household income policy to enable people with disabilities living on income assistance to get married or live with a roommate without losing their source of income.
Allow people with autism or intellectual disabilities to access the New Brunswick mental health care system, from which they are currently excluded.
Adopt the Disability Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities written by the Premier’s Council on Disabilities, and begin implementing its recommendations.
Coon had earlier announced that people living with disabilities would be the first group in society to benefit from the Guaranteed Livable Income his Party would implement to replace the income assistance system.
New Brunswick seniors deserve better from their government, said Green Party Leader David Coon, and COVID-19 has shown us how much they need our attention and immediate action.
“We would ensure the Department of Health moves immediately to permit a close family member to be designated as a family care-giver so they can resume their role as part of the senior’s care team in New Brunswick nursing and special care homes. Following COVID 19 protocols, these loved ones could return to feeding their loved ones, reduce the burden on overworked staff, end the feelings of isolation, bring happiness to their daily lives and improve their overall well being,” he said. “The status quo is cruel. It’s heartbreaking.”
“I am also asking the Chief Electoral Officer to designate the first two hours everyday the returning offices are open exclusively for seniors and other vulnerable people so they can vote in a safer environment,” said Coon. “This will help reduce the stress and anxiety they may face having to choose to vote in person in a provincial election during a pandemic.”
Coon announced that a Green government would redesign senior care in New Brunswick to focus on the quality of life and quality of care of nursing home residents by increasing the hours of care residents receive, increase wages for workers and spearhead a model that takes profit out of the equation.
“We cannot ethically stand by and allow the care of our parents and grandparents to increasingly be taken care of by for-profit companies who are accountable to shareholders, not the community,” said Coon. “We can and must do better.”
More details on the Green Party of New Brunswick’s focus on seniors will be provided in the 2020 Green Party Platform to be released in the coming days.
This morning in Mactaquac, Green Party Leader David Coon announced that Louise Comeau will be running for the Green Party in the upcoming election in the riding of Carleton-York.
“I am thrilled that Louise has chosen to run in Carleton-York,” said Coon. “She has many years of experience as a leading climate change expert and advisor to Elizabeth May and I know she will make a great MLA.”
Comeau is an environmental consultant specializing in climate change policy and communications. She also is an honorary research associate and instructor at the University of New Brunswick.
“I’m running for three reasons: First, because of my enormous respect for David as leader and as a person of character; second, to spark conversations in our community about the importance of Green values to a thriving rural life, and third because we need new provincial policies to stimulate the transition to a non-polluting economy,” said Comeau. “The last two years have shown that we need more Green MLAs in the Legislature and I’m excited to get to work on environmental solutions for rural New Brunswickers, including the residents of Carleton-York.”
Green Party leader David Coon was joined by Green Party candidate for Fredericton North Luke Randall today to announce the Green Party’s plan for a Guaranteed Livable Income in New Brunswick.
“I’ve seen the struggles of those living in poverty in my constituency office on a daily basis over my last six years as MLA,” said Coon. “Now the COVID-19 pandemic has blown the doors wide open, exposing the holes in our social safety net.”
Coon announced that a Green government would launch a Guaranteed Livable Income in New Brunswick. The first recipients would be people living with a disability as a pilot project. The next step would be to make it available to everyone that depends on social assistance, followed by minimum wage workers.
“A Guaranteed Livable Income has been tremendously successful in helping people get ahead where it has been tried, in places such as Hamilton, Ontario and Dauphin, Manitoba.,” said Coon. “My plan will ensure that people don’t have to choose between putting a roof over their head, food on the table, or buying a bus ticket to get to work or an appointment. It will allow people with a disability to have the basic dignity that we all expect as New Brunswickers.”
HARTLAND – Green Party leader David Coon stood by the exposed bottom of the St. John River in Hartland to address the disproportionate impacts of the current drought on rural New Brunswickers. The majority of New Brunswick is experiencing "severe" or "moderate" drought according to Agriculture Canada.
“The water table is so low that families with young children are rationing their water, skipping laundry and dishes. And the farmers I have talked to are very very worried,” said Coon. “Water levels are at their lowest in over 50 years. That’s not just some statistical oddity. It’s the modern, climate change reality that rural New Brunswickers are facing.”
Coon announced that a Green government would create a Department of Rural Affairs to ensure that social, economic and environmental issues of concern to rural New Brunswick are given the priority that they deserve.
“When I listen to Mr. Higgs, and Mr. Vickers, they don’t get rural communities. They don’t seem to understand farmers. They just don’t get that rural people are bearing the brunt of the consequences of the climate crisis,” said Coon. “I am proud of the rural nature of our province. It is who we are. Rural New Brunswickers can count on my MLAs and I to stand up for them.”
FREDERICTON – Today, just before boarding a City bus, Green Party Leader David Coon announced his plan to save public transit in New Brunswick’s cities.
“A Green government will immediately dedicate revenue from the Higgs carbon tax to offset the $2 million-dollar loss in revenue caused by COVID-19 that could shut-down our City transit systems. I will unlock the federal dollars aimed at improving public transportation, that Blaine Higgs has left on the table,” said Green Party leader David Coon. “Public transit is an essential service for people of all ages in our cities, and an essential part of effective plans to grow our cities, support our seniors, reduce poverty and fight climate change. We cannot lose this public service.”
Fredericton is forecasting a loss of $770,000 in transit revenue this year, with Moncton/Riverview/Dieppe and Saint John forecasting losses of $756,000 and $505,000, because of COVID-19.
The mayors of six New Brunswick cities wrote the Premier on July 24, 2020 asking that he not leave federal dollars on the table for public transit.
“For me, an essential element of our cities’ agendas must be for the Province to ensure that they can provide effective and convenient public transportation services to their citizens,” said Coon.
Green Party Leader David Coon believes that confirming a general election for September 14 is not in the best interest of the people of New Brunswick.
"The vast majority of people don't want to have an election in times of pandemic. People's fears and concerns about the health of their families are very justified and legitimate and we understand them," Coon said.
In September 2018, the people of New Brunswick elected a minority government and gave all political parties a clear mandate to work together for the good of the province.
“The Green Party wanted to respect the mandate given to us by the voters and make this minority government work to advance people’s well-being. And we were making progress. However, we are now in an election,” said Coon.
Today, while the risks associated with Covid-19 are still very much present, Premier Higgs is choosing, against the interests of the people, to call a general election.
"Last week's negotiations have shown us that the Liberals and Conservatives have their own self-interest at heart. They are incapable of going beyond partisanship,” said Coon. “We in the Green Party are interested in the well-being of people above all. We have excellent candidates in every corner of our province, who are committed to serving their communities and our province. New Brunswickers have the opportunity to make history in this election by sending them to Fredericton.”
FREDERICTON - Just ahead of National Acadian Day, the Green Caucus met with the Société de l'Acadie du N.-B. (SANB) as they arrived in Fredericton to meet political leaders today.
At the end of the meeting, Green Party leader David Coon stated that there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure equality between the province's two linguistic communities.
SANB supports the Green’s proposal to establish a Standing Committee on Official Languages, which is currently being considered by a committee of the Legislature.
"Concrete action must be taken to achieve real equality. We can't expect it to happen effortlessly. Of course, the Official Languages Act will be up for review shortly and we will make sure that it is done in public and on time," said Coon.
“I was also pleased to learn that SANB is strongly focused on improving the way New Brunswick manages immigration, because as I have repeatedly said, we need the autonomy to ensure we can keep international students and attract immigrants to meet our unique needs, including the need for francophone immigration. Leaving this up to Ottawa is not acceptable,” said Coon.
The MLA for Kent North, Kevin Arseneau, points out that vigilance is always required when it comes to ensuring equality between the province’s two linguistic communities.
"Since my arrival at the Legislative Assembly, I have realized how we are still far from the goal set 50 years ago when the Official Languages Act was adopted,” said Arseneau. “Achieving real equality and the development of our Acadian regions is the fight of a lifetime for me. Protecting our rights is certainly one of my top priorities as a Francophone MLA.”
Coon said meeting with the SANB ahead of National Acadian Day should become a tradition to take stock of the many priority issues of New Brunswick's Acadian community.
New Brunswickers have been served well by a minority government during the pandemic. The diversity of voices on the COVID-19 Cabinet Committee have led to good decisions that have effectively protected New Brunswickers from the awful consequences of COVID-19 experienced in other parts of Canada and around the world.
We look forward to securing a commitment from Premier Higgs to collaborate on the development of provincial budgets and throne speeches, so they secure the confidence of the house in order to avoid triggering a disruptive election.
NB Green Party Leader
MLA for Fredericton South