MLA Kevin Arseneau Tables Motion to Address the Concentration of Media Ownership

Fredericton - Kevin Arseneau, MLA for Kent-North, tabled a motion today that would seek to end the concentration of media ownership in New Brunswick. 

“Having a free, competitive, and diverse media landscape is absolutely crucial to a well-functioning democracy,” said Arseneau. “The level of media concentration in this province is unheard of in the rest of the developed world. That fact has been made especially evident in light of the closures of 9 of the Irving-owned Brunswick News offices recently.”

Currently, all daily English-language newspapers in New Brunswick are owned by Brunswick News, which constitutes 84% of all daily newspaper circulation. Brunswick News also owns 71% of weekly newspaper circulation in the province, with all of their physical offices closed permanently. Brunswick News is owned by James K. Irving, who also owns J.D. Irving, Limited.

“The fact that a major employer in the province, who is directly tied to many industries would have control of the media is beyond concerning,” said Arseneau. “What we have here is an industrial-media complex and it’s holding us back as a province.”

The motion presented today will seek to institute a 40% cap on the concentration of print media ownership in the province and prohibit the cross-ownership of media and non-media businesses, a commitment made in the 2018 Green Party Platform. 

“The media landscape is like a farm; diversity contributes to its strength and resilience,” said Arseneau.

Green MLA tables motion to provide greater supports for workers

FREDERICTON – Megan Mitton, MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar, tabled a motion urging the government to increase protections for non-unionized workers by giving all workers access to at least five paid sick days, with ten additional days during emergency situations such as a health pandemic; increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next two years; and ensuring all employees receive overtime pay of one and a half times their wage.

“The COVID pandemic has made it clear that our essential workers, who often make minimum wage and have no access to paid sick leave, are undervalued,” says Mitton. “I’m calling on the government to move forward on making the changes outlined in this motion because they would have a big impact on minimum wage and casual workers.” 

Workers who work overtime in New Brunswick are only required to receive overtime pay at one and a half times the minimum wage, and not one and a half times their wage.  Employers are currently not obligated to provide employees with paid sick days.

“This is about both workers’ rights and public health,” said Mitton. “When you make minimum wage or thereabouts, it’s difficult to make the decision to stay home without pay, even if you should be staying home to avoid spreading your illness, whether it’s COVID-19 or otherwise.”

Greens Urge Government to Set Firm Target for Buying Locally

FREDERICTON – Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton-South, David Coon, tabled a motion today that urges the government to commit to sourcing 10% of goods and services for the upcoming fiscal year locally in New Brunswick.

“Many of our small and medium-sized businesses are now in survival mode in the wake of the COVID-19 shutdown.  The self-employed are seeing their livelihoods evaporate, while laid-off workers from export-oriented industries may lose their jobs altogether. The government must use its massive purchasing power to buy goods and services produced right here in New Brunswick, instead of importing them,” said Coon. “Money leaves the province with every imported good and service. By replacing imports with New Brunswick products and services, we will keep the money circulating in the province, creating wealth in our communities.”

A 2018 study by Université de Moncton economist Pierre-Marcel Desjardins found that just a 5 percent increase in New Brunswickers buying local products would result in over 9000 jobs, add $881 million to New Brunswick’s GDP, and generate $1.14 billion in revenue for the provincial government and $2 billion in additional sales annually after five years.

“If we want to encourage New Brunswickers to support their local economy, government needs to lead by example,” said Coon. “When we support businesses in our communities, our money goes directly towards supporting our neighbours, families, and the local tax base.  It’s fundamental to strengthening our local economies.”

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Green Party Leader Proposes Select Committee to Forge a Path Forward in New Brunswick in COVID’s Wake

FREDERICTON – In order to address the challenges that have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton-South, David Coon, is calling on the Higgs government to establish a Select Committee on Social and Economic Resilience, with the following two main goals:

  1. Promotion of Personal and Social Well-Being
  2. Promotion of Sustainable Economic Progress

 “As we begin to navigate a recovery from the pandemic, we need to be sure to place the well-being of all New Brunswickers at the heart of our decision-making,” said Coon. “We also have a unique opportunity to reset our economy in a way that is more locally-based, resilient, ecologically sustainable, and most importantly, serves all New Brunswickers.”

The Select Committee would include members of all parties in the Legislature and be mandated to engage with New Brunswickers to recommend social and economic measures which will put New Brunswick on a path toward a more resilient society and economy.  

“In the weeks and months since the beginning of the pandemic, we discovered that partisanship can be put aside and party leaders are capable of working together to serve the common good, as we have on the all-party cabinet committee,” said Coon. “I want to carry through that spirit of collaboration into the Legislature with this Select Committee to look at how we better support the most vulnerable, such as our seniors, youth and the poor, while pursuing economic progress that is more sustainable and suitable for a province the size of New Brunswick.”

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Greens Have A Full Agenda for the Legislature

FREDERICTON – “While the government says it only has a few bills it wants to pass when we resume the spring Legislative session, the Greens have a full agenda,” says Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton-South, David Coon.

The Green Caucus has three bills awaiting second reading and four motions awaiting debate:

Bill 7: Ensure equitable access to timber markets for private woodlot owners and ban Glyphosate spraying on Crown Lands.
Bill 31: Improve the social assistance system to meet the needs of recipients.
Bill 35: Ban the practice of conversion therapy in New Brunswick.

Motion 37: Make documents public related to the proposed healthcare reform.
Motion 38: Send healthcare reform to an all-party legislative committee.
Motion 39: Increase social assistance rates and pilot a Guaranteed Livable Income.
Motion 40: Give the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries the mandate for food sovereignty and food security and change the department’s name to reflect that mandate.  

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, the Green Caucus has been working on additional three bills and four debatable motions to ensure that New Brunswick and New Brunswickers can emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.  These bills will be tabled over the proposed 4 weeks of the spring session. 

Bill: Strengthen the local food system.
Bill: Ban replacement workers during strikes.
Bill: Amend the Education Act to include teaching Indigenous languages.

Motion: Urge government to support building retrofits and embrace renewable energy.
Motion: Urge government to procure 10% of its goods and services locally.
Motion: Prohibit the provision of grants and loans to companies that shelter their income in tax havens.
Motion: Prohibit cross-ownership of media and non-media businesses

While the Legislature will hold all sittings in person, the Green caucus has advocated for the hybrid system adopted by the House of Commons that uses videoconferencing in combination with members in the House, to conduct legislative business.

“We need to adopt strategies and technology that allow MLAs to do our legislative work, whether in person at the Legislature or online,” said Mitton. “We have seen government business conducted online in Ottawa and elsewhere, so we know it can be done. We need to put this in place so that the Legislative Assembly can do as much work as possible, even during a pandemic.”

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Green Party Leader Calls for Exemptions on Ban to TFWs and Wage Subsidy to Attract Farm Workers

Fredericton – Green Party Leader and MLA for Fredericton-South, David Coon, is calling on the provincial government to provide a wage subsidy to help farmers recruit and retain farm workers, and to permit them to apply for exemptions to the order barring temporary foreign workers from entering New Brunswick.  

“While the Chief Medical Officer of Health has repeatedly said we may have to take further measures to tighten our borders in order to minimize the introduction of COVID-19 to New Brunswick, this last minute decision to close our borders to Temporary Foreign Workers, just before planting season begins, is depriving farmers of trained and experienced essential workers they need now,” says Green Party Leader David Coon.

“Farmers who can demonstrate they have all necessary supports in place to properly quarantine their workers for 14 days and provide for physical distancing in their accommodations, should be eligible for exemptions from the order barring temporary foreign workers.  A wage subsidy must also be made available so farmers can avoid debilitating labour shortages.”

A significant number of Temporary Foreign Workers were scheduled to arrive over the next few weeks to work in seafood processing plants and on farms.

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Inquiry into of the hiring process for the executive director of the New Brunswick Public Library System

April 15, 2020

Green Party leader supports former Provincial Librarian's call for an inquiry into of the hiring process for the executive director of the New Brunswick Public Library System

Fredericton – Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton South, David Coon is supporting the former Provincial librarian's call for a public review of the hiring process that led to the appointment of the current executive director of the New Brunswick Public Library System, Kevin Cormier.

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Kevin Arseneau proposes solutions to increase NB’s food sovereignty during COVID-19

April 9, 2020

Green MLA proposes solutions to increase NB’s food sovereignty during COVID-19

Fredericton – MLA for Kent-North, Kevin Arseneau, has been working to ensure that New Brunswick farms are supported and able to increase production for the 2020 season so that New Brunswickers have a stable food system and supply here in the province during this global pandemic.

Green Party Leader, David Coon, brought Arseneau’s proposal to the Cabinet Committee on COVID-19 which led to the creation of a committee by the Department of Post-Secondary Education and Labour made up of staff from the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, as well as farmers, food processors and others.

“This committee is a good first step, but it’s not going far enough, it needs to be have all-party representation and should have included the only elected farmer in the Legislature.  We have a fragile food system in the province, we produce only 3% of what we eat overall. Although we must support all farmers, fishers and harvesters, we must direct our efforts to our weakest links: especially annual fruit and vegetables but also grain, and livestock,” says Arseneau.  “The province’s biggest weakness is fresh vegetables and fruits.  We import 92% of the vegetables and fruits that the province consumes, much of that from the United States.  These are seasonal crops that need to go into the ground very soon, given the window of opportunity is quickly closing that’s where we need to focus our time and energy right now.”

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Megan Mitton announces task force to respond to community needs during the pandemic

April 5, 2020 

Memramcook-Tantramar MLA announces task force to respond to community needs during the pandemic 

I am announcing today on behalf of myself, Sackville Mayor John Higham, Dorchester Mayor JJ Bear, Port Elgin Mayor Judy Scott, and Fort Folly First Nation Chief Rebecca Knockwood, the establishment of the Tantramar COVID-19 Task Force (TCTF). The TCTF will include key community volunteers from unincorporated areas of Tantramar, such as Aulac and Cape Tormentine. 

The TCTF has been mandated to coordinate an appropriate community response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

I have been communicating with colleagues and with volunteers in Memramcook to address the needs of the community. I want to ensure that the organizations in this community can continue to respond to the needs of Memramcook residents. One important area of focus that has been identified is food security, and we are working to respond to these needs. 

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Budget with a Heart Tour – Community Priorities

David Coon, February 25, 2020

In his role as an opposition party leader and member of the Green caucus in the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly, David Coon held forums in 14 communities around the province to hear about the priorities New Brunswickers have for the 2020-2021 provincial budget.  The results of what was heard are consolidated here and formed Mr. Coon’s submission to Finance Minister Ernie Steeves budget consultation. --READ MORE--

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